Doctors Save 11-Week-Old Baby By Using Raincoat Material To Fix 5 Holes In Her Heart

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

Giving birth to a healthy baby is all most expecting moms can ask for. And thanks to modern medical technology, most moms know what to expect while they’re expecting.

However, this is not always the case. Sometimes things aren’t picked up in the scans or ultrasounds, and even the best doctors can’t pinpoint the source of the problem right away.

As you can imagine, this is especially tough on a mother who spent nine months carrying what she hoped would be a perfectly healthy baby.

This is exactly what happened to a mom from the UK, Valerie Christy, after she gave birth to her third child, Ryleigh.

While things certainly can slip through the cracks when it comes to diagnosing a problem for a newborn, finding the perfect solution always makes up for it.

In Ryleigh’s case, doctors used Gore-Tex — the same material used to make raincoats — to help patch her baby heart and, consequently, save her life.

Thumbnail Photo: Flickr / Doug Beckers

[H/T: Daily Mirror]

Everything seemed fine at first, as Ryleigh seemed like a healthy baby right after birth. The doctors found no red flags during the pregnancy itself.

However, Valerie had a different impression.

She told Daily Mirror, “From the moment she was born, I knew that things weren’t right, but the doctors had no idea what was wrong with her.”

Three days later, Valerie’s suspicions were confirmed.

“She was breathing so fast, her chest was going up and down, and she was taken into intensive care in the early hours of one morning.”

While at the hospital, Valerie was terrified when she noticed that her baby had been rushed off to the ICU.

Ryleigh ended up being transferred to another hospital, where more sophisticated tests could be taken to determine what was ailing her.

The results showed that Ryleigh had been born with a septal defect and multiple atrial septal defects.

According to Stanford Children’s Health, the condition is characterized by holes in the heart that make the muscle “sieve” or “Swiss cheese-like.”

The condition makes it particularly difficult for a child to breathe because the holes in the heart interfere with the process of replenishing oxygen-rich blood to the lungs.

Over time, it can lead to serious lung problems or even heart failure or stroke.

Needless to say, little Ryleigh would need a procedure to make sure she had the best bet in life.

Valerie told Mirror, “The doctors told me she would have to have an operation, so I had to hope and pray that she was strong enough to survive.”

Ryleigh would undergo open-heart surgery at the very young age of 11 weeks old.

Luckily, the risky surgery was a success, but you’d never guess what everyday material they used on her heart — Gore-Tex, also known as the same material often used to make raincoats.

Mirror explains, “It is used in heart operations because it’s very elastic and has a honeycomb structure to it that allows the patient’s own cells to grow in and around it.”

Ryleigh should be able to lead a normal life, all thanks to a little Gore-Tex.

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