Stories about: Sitaram M. Emani

A good Melody: mending the wounded heart of a dragon-slayer

George and Elisabeth

According to Christian legend, St. George saved the mystical town of Silene—along with a lovely princess—by slaying a dragon that plagued the city. As his namesake, William St. George Hunter (“George”), a 1-year-old heart patient at Boston Children’s Hospital, has shown a similar type of courage and spirit.

George’s battle against his heart condition began before he was born. At 25 weeks of pregnancy, his mother, Elisabeth Hunter, flew to Boston Children’s from South Carolina to undergo a fetal intervention with Wayne Tworetzky, MD, co-director of the Advanced Fetal Care Center and director of fetal cardiac imaging. George was born at Brigham & Women’s and went home with his family after several weeks of observation at Boston Children’s. But the Hunter family returned when George was five weeks old for the physicians to temporarily insert a balloon catheter in his aortic valve, a procedure called balloon valvuloplasty that seeks to dilate a narrowed valve.

“His condition improved after the balloon procedure,” says Elisabeth, “but we knew the treatment was unsustainable.”

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