Baby Kendal is Alive Thanks to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Cardiac Team
Kendal appeared to be a healthy baby, but by the time she was 10 days old, she became so sick she was put on life support and transferred to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.
Kendal's diagnosis was a ventricular septal defect with an interrupted aortic arch, a combination of serious heart defects that would require two operations. The first operation was a "hybrid" procedure combining elements of open heart surgery with minimally invasive catheter techniques. The second operation would be an eight-hour open heart operation that would be performed only when Kendal was a few months older and more likely to withstand the risks.
Fortunately for Kendal, she was at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital – the only hospital in Broward and Palm Beach counties performing pediatric open heart surgery and cardiac catheterization – and the experts on staff are able to draw from a wealth of experience that includes university teaching and research.
Kendal's mother, Sheleka, had full faith in the physicians' expertise, and felt confident her baby was in the right place with the right doctors.
Going Above and Beyond Other Hospitals
A distinguishing trait of the Cardiac Center at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital is its emphasis on interdisciplinary coordination of treatment for each and every patient.
When caring for infants under 6 months old – an age group that is particularly vulnerable to surgical complications – the Cardiac Center goes a step further by holding "strike force meetings" in which representatives from the physician staff, the nursing staff, the ICU, anesthesiology, and other departments convene to discuss every aspect of treatment.
"The strike force meeting is an extension of our commitment to patient safety, and it's worked very well. When I speak to colleagues around the country, they say they don't have the depth and breadth of the collaboration we have here," says Frank G. Scholl MD, Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital and a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon on the medical staffs of Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Hospital West and Memorial Hospital Miramar.
Today, Kendal's heart is working beautifully, and her mother has fond memories of the dedicated team of professionals who saved her baby's life.
"The nursing staff was so in tune with Kendal's needs and our needs as parents. My husband and I were even included in physician rounds so we could ask questions. You don't see this at other hospitals," says Sheleka. "The care at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital was superior to any other hospital I've ever experienced. I wouldn't recommend any other."