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Georgia’s story

Baby Georgia was born with ‘half a heart’.

While she was still in the womb, Larissa and Nathan were given news no parent should have to hear.

I think your baby has hypoplastic left heart syndrome.”

It was the first of several times Larissa and Nathan had to prepare for the worst.

At five days old, she came to Queensland Children’s Hospital for the first of three open-heart surgeries. There was a chance she wouldn’t survive the operation, but Larissa and Nathan’s ‘little warrior’ pulled through. Georgia spent months in hospital fighting to stay alive and get strong enough for her second open-heart surgery.

It was ‘touch and go’ too often. Larissa watched with horror when her baby would become ‘blue and sweaty’ as her oxygen levels dropped.

At one point, Georgia’s family gathered around her cot in case it was the last time they’d ever be together.

We asked a nurse to take some pictures. We were fearful they would be our last family photos together”
– Larissa, Georgia’s mum

Everything had gone well with her second open-heart surgery, however little Georgia and her family still have battles ahead of them.

For a lot of sick kids and their families, coming home is the start of the good times and an end to worry and trauma.

We still can’t promise that for ‘heart kids’.

Sometimes, surviving is just the start

Like all children who’ve survived serious heart conditions, Georgia may have developmental issues or trouble learning at school. Some heart kids like her have strokes or need heart transplants.

Associate Professor, Paediatric Cardiologist Dr. Robert Justo and his colleagues at the Queensland Children’s Hospital are trying to prevent those problems arising – and they’re having some success.

All kids born with heart defects deserve good quality of life after they leave hospital. So clinician Dr. Justo is working with Professor Steven McPhail to change that through vital research.

“I want little children affected by congenital heart disease to have the best help via surgeries and medical care. But I also want them to be able to live their best lives – to learn, develop friendships and interests, and have bright futures.” - Professor Steven McPhail