It was just after midnight on an unseasonably warm Christmas Eve when Morre and Marcus stepped off the plane at Logan Airport. They carried precious cargo: their newborn daughter Madison needed emergency heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Madison was the couple’s first child. Like most expectant parents, Morre and Marcus were overwhelmed with joyous anticipation as the pregnancy progressed. They decorated their baby’s nursery and picked out a name: Madison, which means “gift from God.”
But at Morre’s 20-week ultrasound, the couple’s joy was tempered by some troubling news.
Madison had complex congenital heart disease. The prognosis was not good.
Doctors near the family’s home in North Carolina first thought Madison had a disease called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, or HLHS, which means the left side of the heart is so underdeveloped that it can’t pump enough oxygenated blood throughout the body. After a follow-up appointment with a local pediatric cardiologist; however, Morre and Marcus learned there was more to the story. …
(Katherine C. Cohen/Boston Children’s Hospital)
Sylvia Noel Fagan
Administrative Associate, Cardiac Surgery
I’ve been here for 18 years — first in Cardiology and now in Cardiac Surgery. I’m the administrative assistant for Drs. Emani and Kaza, but I do a little of everything. With eight surgeons and four assistants, we all help each other out.
In person, I call some of the doctors by their first names — Ram, A.K., Francis … I like that. We have a great relationship. When I have a problem, I feel like I can really talk to them. In this department, we all care for each other.
I sit at the front desk, so I’m often the first person families meet. When they come in for a consult with a surgeon, of course they’re nervous. I try to calm them down and help out by distracting the kids. Sometimes it’s too much for a child to hear how a surgeon is going to operate, so I bring them out to color or play on my computer.
I always try to put myself in our families’ position. I had a mother call the other day, and the person she was looking for wasn’t available. I could tell she needed someone to talk to, so I stayed on the phone with her for a half hour, past the time I usually leave to go home. If I were calling and the person I needed wasn’t available, I would want someone to hear me out.
It’s a stressful time, so I always try to be calm. I’m the calm before the storm.
Caring for patients is a true team effort. Care Team highlights the dedication of the people throughout Boston Children’s who do their part to comfort and support patient families each and every day.