Stories about: Dr. Puja Banka

Against all odds: Colin’s biventricular repair

Colin, who had a biventricular repair, climbs onto the table during his office visit.

Catherine and Julio Pita were already seasoned parents when they learned they were expecting their sixth child. But when an ultrasound at Catherine’s 16-week prenatal visit showed their baby had a hole in his heart, they were surprised and unprepared.

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Samuel’s heart: After four years and four surgeries, it’s the healthiest it’s ever been

Samuel, who had a biventricular repair on his heart, wears his heart hero costume.

When Samuel Guinn was born, his parents, Jennifer and Grant, expected at least one surprise. The couple from Jennings, Louisiana had chosen not to learn their third baby’s gender ahead of delivery. But soon after their beautiful boy’s birth, they got an unexpected surprise — he had a serious heart condition.

“Within an hour, the doctors noticed a heart murmur and transferred him to a larger hospital in Louisiana,” says Jennifer. “Once he was there, they diagnosed him with transposition of the great arteries (TGA) and a ventricular septal defect (VSD), but they couldn’t keep him stable, so they told us they wanted to send him to a bigger hospital in New Orleans.”

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How to save a life: Teachers band together to revive girl who had heart attack at school

Jessica and Carole (2)

Long Island middle school teacher Carole Going texts her student Jessica every day. Even just a simple exchange of “How are you feeling today?” and “Good, thanks!” can calm Going’s nerves. “I didn’t know her very well before the event happened,” she says. “We only had eight classes by that point.”

A month and a half ago, Jessica was in science class when she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.

Going says it was her co-teacher, Ann Marie Carlson, who first noticed Jessica appeared weak: “She started to ask ‘Are you OK?’” but couldn’t even get all the words out before Jessica fell back on the floor.”

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