Stories about: Dr. Samantha Butler

After a second chance, Lincoln is growing by leaps and bounds

Lincoln, a heart patient, poses with Buzz Lightyear and Woody
Lincoln and friends

“You’re the best mom ever,” is music to any mother’s ears. But when 6-year-old Lincoln spoke these words to his mom, Amber, for the first time just a few weeks ago, she totally lost it — in a good way.

“I never thought he’d be able to say that,” Amber says. “Thanks to his team at Boston Children’s Hospital, he’s come so far in just a few years.”

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Our family’s journey of the heart

Nicolas and twin sister EmmyWhen our son Nicholas was 5 weeks old, we brought him and his twin sister Emmy to our pediatrician for what we thought was a routine well visit. Though the twins had been born four weeks early, Nicholas had only been in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for a few days with low blood sugar and jaundice. Both babies seemed healthy and we had no major concerns.

However, as we watched our pediatrician listen to Nicholas’ heart and pulse, we realized something wasn’t right. He told us the pulse in Nicholas’ lower extremities was weaker than the pulse in his upper body. He suspected Nicholas might have coarctation of the aorta and referred us to our local heart center, where they confirmed the diagnosis and immediately scheduled us for surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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The many adventures of Wesley: Specialty care helps toddler with heart disease reach neurodevelopmental milestones

Will and Alicia Ethridge knew their unborn son would need complex open-heart surgery soon after birth, due to a serious congenital defect that was detected in utero.

Wesley suffered from a genetic form of cardiomyopathy, which meant the walls of his heart muscles were thickened, and blood flow to the left side of his body was restricted.

The knowledge about their son’s disease prepared them for many things about the impending medical journey (including arranging for cardiac surgery at the Boston Children’s Hospital Heart Center, just a few hours’ drive from their home in Maine) but there were many more things about the months to come that they did not expect.

Immediately after birth in October 2013, baby Wesley was transferred to the (CICU) at Boston Children’s. His case quickly became more complicated than anyone had anticipated.

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