Open-Heart Surgeries Help Micah Defy the Odds

Micah loves music and dancing. Last year, she taught herself the moves to the popular song, “Thriller.” She enjoys making people laugh.

Terri, Micah’s mom, says she’s the kind of kid whose smile lights up a room. Terri describes her daughter as her miracle. Halfway through her pregnancy, Terri learned that Micah had multiple heart defects. She also had Down syndrome. Dr. Mary Donofrio, Director the Fetal Heart Program at Children’s National Hospital, monitored Terri and Micah closely.

Micah was born 7 weeks early. Terri worried her baby wouldn’t make it but heard a tiny, but strong cry before our Transport Team rushed Micah to Children’s National. It gave Terri hope.

“The doctors didn’t think she would live very long because of her severe heart issues,” recalls Terri. “I felt so helpless.”

Her baby had her first open heart surgery at 14 days old. She had two more before her first birthday. She stayed in our Cardiac Intensive Care Unit for 8 months.

“It was hard for her to grow because she was working so hard just to breathe,” says Terri.

But Micah fought. After her third surgery, she was strong enough to go home. Now 12, Micah visits Dr. Donofrio and a pulmonologist for annual check-ups. Along with music, the lively middle-schooler loves school, French fries and playing outside.

Terri, a nurse, was so grateful for Micah’s lifesaving care that she joined the nursing team at Children’s National.

“I wanted to pay it forward to other families like ours and let them know they’re in the right place,” says Terri. “Micah is living proof of that.”

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.