LIFE

Mom Thinks She Has Healthy Baby Until Routine Doctor’s Visit Ends In Open Heart Surgery

by Emerald Pellot
Emerald Pellot graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a degree in Writing & Popular Culture. She worked as Senior Editor of College Candy for 2 years, covering feminism, popular culture, and college life before joining LittleThings in 2015. Based in New York City, Emerald covers a wide range of topics from human interest pieces to celebrity news.

Arkansas mom, Janna Evans thought she had given birth to a happy, healthy baby boy. However, at 9 months old she discovered her son Matthew Johnson had a heart murmur.

“I thought I had the perfect child that slept, ate and went to sleep…no crying. I thought he was just the perfect kid, but that wasn’t the case, “Janna Evans said.

A routine visit to the pediatrician left Matthew with an atrial septal defect and mitral valve leak diagnosis. Matthew had to have open heart surgery at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

“I was really nervous, a 9-month-old getting ready for open heart surgery at 11 months old is pretty stressful.

Any surgery on a child is awful, and I wasn’t sure he would make it,” Janna said.

The surgery was a success. Matthew’s valve was repaired and worked well until he was about 6 years old. Matthew needed yet another open heart surgery.

“But after my four-hour long surgery I felt better after an hour because they put medicine into to me from the tubes everywhere, and I started walking around a day later,” Matthew said.

The operation gave Matthew a new lease on life. Now he’s able to play sports — before he could barely walk without being in pain.

“It was a whole life change. I wasn’t used to a child that could run and jump and I was chasing everywhere trying to keep up. It was like a whole new experience. It was like I had a brand new child, ” Janna said.

The family credits Le Bonheur hospital with transforming his life.

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Footage provided by WREG Memphis

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