A few months ago, the future didn't look good for a little girl from our area with severe lung and heart problems. Several major hospitals wouldn't even see her, but one took the chance and that may have changed everything for the Huntingdon County toddler.
Gracie Covert's about a month away from her third birthday and it now looks like she'll be able to enjoy many more.
Her mother Kiley Beam says, "her life expectantcy went from five years old to ten years old."
That's from one procedure to open the abnormally tiny pulmonary arteries going into Gracie's right lung. She was born with lung and heart problems and doctors at Hershey Medical Center told the family it was impossible to fix her heart without a lung transplant. Maybe she'd need both organs. But nobody wanted to take on this complex case.
Finally, pediatric cardiologists at Nationwide Chilkdren's Hospital in Ohio offered to help by trying to open up the lung arteries.
Doctors discovered the arteries inside the left lung were normal, which meant less danger of serious complications and they could continue openng up all of them. During nine hours in the OR, instead of the four expected, they placed three balloons and a stent.
Gracie still faces the same procedure on her left lung and surgery to fix a hole in her heart, but probably no transplants and a normal life span.
The way Kiley sees it, "they gave us our daughter back is how I feel. I felt like she had a death sentence and now I don't."
It was Kiley who kept contacting one hospital after another as they kept turning her down.
"I think there's a lot of people give up right before the miracle happens. You gotta keep on pushing and trudging through."
Gracie should have the procedure in her left lung in the next three to si x months and the heart operation after that.