The day 3-week-old Nemo stopped breathing in his mother, Tiffany’s arms at Children’s National Hospital, “the nurse hit the code blue button and the whole team flew through the doors to save his life,” she says. Nemo was born with a heart defect. Within two weeks, he had life-saving heart surgery.

“One nurse in particular, Kathleen Reid, was at my side the whole time,” Tiffany says. “I was terrified and she told me everything would be OK when I needed to hear it most. She called my husband and made sure he knew what was going on.”

Nemo, now 4, has returned to our hospital for three more surgeries. Our cardiac team’s care has helped him grow into what his mom calls “a full-blown rambunctious boy who loves to smile and laugh.” Her son ― the right side of his heart is smaller than his left ― is named for the main character of the family’s favorite movie, Finding Nemo. Nemo the fish has a similar physical defect — his right fin is smaller than his left.

“Children’s National gave my son his life,” Tiffany says. “They keep doing everything they can to keep him happy, healthy and living a normal life.

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.