Elianna Soto had her first heart surgery when she was just 13 days old. Her heart was the size of a walnut.
She needed a second heart surgery five days later and had to spend the first year of her life in the hospital. Fortunately, that hospital was Children’s Medical Center Dallas.
“I wouldn’t have any other hospital take care of my child,” said Elianna’s mother, Letticia Soto. “Our daughter is alive because of Children’s Health℠.”
She and her husband, Elias, saw Children’s Health doctors and medical staff hustle to save their daughter – so they hustled to stay at Children’s. The family lives five hours away in Lubbock so Mr. Soto scrambled to find a job in Dallas. When the insurance company tried to switch Elianna to another hospital, her mother fought a paperwork battle to keep her at Children’s Health.
As Elianna’s parents worked to sustain the family and their temporary home in Dallas, doctors kept busy on her host of medical problems.
Elianna was born with two severe heart defects: Ebstein’s anomaly of the tricuspid valve and transposition of the great arteries. Ebstein’s anomaly of the tricuspid valve, a rare heart defect, is a malfunction of the valve between the two chambers on the right side of the heart. Transposition of the great arteries is an improper connection of the large vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. It dangerously reduces the amount of oxygen provided to the body.
In the first year of her life, Elianna needed a total of three heart surgeries and more than two dozen heart procedures. She eventually had a pacemaker to control the rhythm of her heart.
“In the beginning, it was scary,” Mrs. Soto said. “Now I know where to go.”
The amount of progress Elianna’s parents have seen in her amazes them.
“She’s more active. She’s able to take spoons. She babbles. She’s got her own little characteristics,” Mr. Soto said. “I’d do it again for her. She’s a miracle.”
Now 3 years old, Elianna can live at home with her family and only needs to return to Children’s to have her pacemaker checked.
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