Child from Trinidad has heart surgery

July 3, 2008 4:54:40 PM PDT
8-year-old Chantal Waldron was born with a life threatening heart defect. Her mother Marcelle Baptiste didn't realize it until she was two years old.

"I had a daughter that would turn blue, pull out the hair out of her head, even her brother's head. And it was very heartbreaking as a family to see this happen to Chantal," said Baptiste.

Soon after the single mother of three got yet another blow.

Doctors in her home country of Trinidad couldn't help Chantal get the surgery she needed.

So her mother turned to Gift of Life for help.

In 2005 she had the first of two operations.

But when it came time for the second operation at Schneider Children's Hospital, Chantal's paperwork got tied up in Trinidad.

Marcelle did what ever it took to save her daughter's life.

She contacted every press outlet she could think of and it worked.

The tube runs directly up to the lung artery. It's an index finger sized gortex tube and 4 hours of surgery saved Chantal's life.

Just six in every 1,000 children are born with Tricuspid Atresia which basically means, the entire right side of her heart was smaller than normal making difficult for her to pump blood to her heart.

But not anymore.

Doctors say it can take weeks even months for patients to recover from this surgery. Chantelle on the other hand was ready to walk out of the hospital in just 5 days.

Her mom adds, "I thank everyone. I really really do. May god bless everyone that has helped Chantelle."

Marcelle expects her daughter will be able to keep up with other kids including her siblings.