Parents thank hospital for saving their baby

September 15, 2011 7:01:37 PM PDT
A set of parents from Huntington, Long Island paid a visit to North Shore University Hospital to say thanks.

They are grateful for their beautiful baby boy who survived a rare heart procedure before he was born.

He is 10 months old now, and strong, active and most importantly healthy, his mom says.

They're a happy family now, but when mom was just a little over 3 months pregnant, that picture was dire.

"It's pretty much a mother's worse nightmare to receive the news that there's a problem with your baby," Suzanne Francis said.

Dante Francis was the star from the moment his parents brought him back to the hospital today.

At a press conference with their doctors, Suzanne and Robert Francis told us their story.

When she was only 13 weeks pregnant, doctors discovered liquid around her fetus's heart. It's a common condition, which usually resolves itself.

"In this particular case the fluid was quite large around the baby's heart and therefore posed a threat to the survival of the fetus," Dr. Romano said.

The couple was devastated, but agreed to let the doctors do a procedure which has been done maybe 10 times worldwide.

The procedure meant a needle into the area around the baby's heart to remove the fluid, while the heart is beating.

The fetus was 18 weeks. At 20 weeks, the heart is perhaps the size of a quarter.

"The risk of the procedure was that we were going around a very narrow space around the baby's heart, and there was a risk that we could cause bleeding by puncturing the heart or we could even cause loss of the pregnancy completely," Dr. Nidhi Voorha said.

Dr. Voorha and her colleagues succeeded. Dante came into the world some 6 months later.

His parents chose his name because it means "eternal"

"He's good and we really appreciate that, and I just think it was a miracle what they could do,"

Suzanne Francis is 40 years old. Robert just turned 50. They had gone through IVF to conceive their second child and had extra tests because of that. They credit that testing, the technology and their doctors all with saving their baby.