Lubbock baby Detwaune is recovering from heart surgery after spending months in NICU

LUBBOCK, Texas — A Lubbock baby is recovering from major heart surgery after spending her entire life in the hospital, her mother told KLBK News on Wednesday.

Born in June, baby Detwaune has spent the past two months in Lubbock’s neonatal intensive care unit as doctors monitor two rare congenital heart defects they diagnosed while he was in utero.

Doctors determined he was finally strong enough for surgery, so last Wednesday they airlifted Detwaune to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth.

They operated on him on Friday, intubated and sedated him for several days afterwards, and then on Wednesday they finally woke him up.

The two defects, double outlet right ventricle (DORV) and ventricular septal defect (VSD), are almost always associated with each other. They affect 1 in 10,000 infants, according to a UMC neonatologist.

“The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs and the left side of the heart pumps blood to the body. [In] this condition, the right heart does all the work and pumps blood to both the lungs and the body,” said Dr. Melissa Piepkorn of UMC Neonatology.

Until the problem is resolved with surgery, the condition can make it difficult for babies like Detwaune to function regularly, breathe and eat.

“I never thought I would have to deal with something like this. It’s the hardest thing a mother has to deal with, so just watch out for certain signs,” her mother Amber Ramos said.

The condition is not always diagnosed before birth. If your baby is “blue or a little purple, [does not] to feed [or] growing well, or when feeding they are a little sweaty or have trouble breathing,” Dr. Piepkorn began, “Babies who breathe faster than normal or seem to be working hard to breathe – this can be a symptom of these heart defects.

Babies may also seem sleepier than usual, or “as parents would describe it, they just seem out of it,” she added, encouraging any parents who see these symptoms to speak with their pediatrician. .

Surgery, barring complications, should help correct the problem, but the Ramos family will have to wait and see where the recovery process takes them, as the baby is also battling pneumonia.

Ramos said she had high hopes for her happy baby, “to go home, live a normal life. No one wants to put limits on their children, even long term in sports and all that stuff.”

The prognosis for the disease is good with surgery and medication, Dr. Piepkorn explained, but it can still be difficult for families, especially those in the central city who have to travel across the state. for this type of rescue. care.

“Even after the operation is complete, this baby will be able to go home, he will need ongoing medical care throughout his life. It can be very, very expensive. Well over $100,000 for this care,” she shared.

Ramos said the Ronald McDonald House was full when they arrived in Fort Worth, so they had to pay out of pocket for a hotel. They also have two months of intensive care bills and older children to take care of, so a family friend set up a GoFundMe. You can donate here.