When I checked on Reese, my then 8-month-old daughter who lay asleep in her crib, I noticed an incredibly rapid, abnormal heartbeat. My husband, Jay, and I raced Reese to a local emergency department. Medical staff immediately transferred us to the cardiovascular intensive care unit at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.
Shortly after we arrived, my baby’s little heart stopped beating. Experts performed CPR and, in order to give her heart time to rest, Reese was placed into a medically induced coma and was attached to ECMO—a heart and lung bypass machine; in other words, life support. With her heart function so poor, the medical team was preparing Reese for placement on the heart transplant list.
Watching Reese struggle to survive was beyond description. I know what it feels like to almost lose a child. I don’t want anyone to have to go through that pain.
Rady Children’s is the region’s only pediatric trauma and emergency center staffed by experts specially
trained to care for children. The dedicated team of doctors and nurses worked around the clock to keep Reese alive. Reese’s condition, histiocytoid cardiomyopathy, is an extraordinarily rare arrhythmic disorder affecting fewer than 100 patients worldwide. It’s so rare that experts don’t know much about it; Jay and I haven’t met a single family currently living with it.
We are grateful for the dedication of James Perry, MD, director of electrophysiology at Rady Children’s, who has conducted extensive research and explored medication options to keep Reese’s heart beating.
Your gift today will help children with rare disorders, like Reese, receive the very best care, exactly when they need it.
Reese had a small rhythm monitor device temporarily implanted in her chest. Her heart function improved and eventually our little girl was sent home on multiple medications to keep her heart beating normally. Thanks to the dedication of Dr. Perry and Rady Children’s Hospital, Reese was never placed on the heart transplant list.