'Miracle baby' reunites with doctors who saved her life on Long Island

NEW HYDE PARK, Long Island (WABC) -- A 4-year-old girl whose life was saved by an in-utero ultrasound that detected a potentially fatal heart defect reunited with the surgeon, doctors and nurses who saved her life on Long Island Thursday.

Clementine is a "bright and shiny" child, according to her parents, Kathleen and Mark.

Living an active life with Down syndrome, Clementine is now thriving as her grateful parents returned to thank her doctors and heart surgeon.

They say a complete accident of technology and the combined efforts of multiple specialists at Katz Women's Hospital and Cohen Children's Medical Center culminated in the delicate open-heart surgery that saved her life.

They visited Katz Women's, part of LIJ Medical Center, at 18 weeks to find out the sex of their unborn baby -- when they were hit with devastating news.

They were told that tests revealed the presence of Hydrops Fetalis, a condition in which fluid accumulates, and that the baby had a 10 percent chance of surviving through the weekend.

"Your baby is very sick," they recalled the maternal/fetal specialist telling them.

The Hydrops Fetalis, usually a result of a chromosomal defect such as Down syndrome, was so advanced that there was no treatment.

Four days later, an amniocentesis revealed the baby was a girl -- and that she had an atrioventricular septal defect. A child born with this heart defect has a large hole in the wall that separates the left and right sides of the heart and is centrally located where the upper chambers and the lower chambers meet.
The resulting diagnosis was grim, and at the time of the test, the baby's heart was smaller than a quarter.

Still, they were determined to go forward with the pregnancy, and and another fetal sonogram about two weeks later revealed that the Hydrops Fetalis was almost completely gone.

Doctors say the spontaneous remission was nothing short of a miracle, and pediatric cardiologist Dr. Denise Hayes told the parents that the baby's tiny heart could be repaired after birth.

Clementine was born at 38 weeks on on August 21, 2014, with cardiology teams on hand.

Two months later, surgeon-in-chief and cardiac specialist Dr. Vincent Parnell operated on Clementine's tiny heart, which at the time had grown to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Clementine and her proud parents wanted to thank all the doctors at Katz Women's Hospital and the surgical team at Cohen who worked together to save their miracle baby.

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