I was catching up on some paperwork in my office when our clinical director came in requesting that I see a patient with him. Three-year-old Livian was brought in by her mother with complaints of chronic illness since birth. She had traveled quite a distance because she heard that our medical centre has had success with unusual cases. She talked of regular fainting spells, shortness of breath, and many courses of antibiotics for respiratory infections.
Her vital signs showed that her oxygen saturation was at 87% when it should be in the high 90’s. She had been to many small clinics over the last several years. Most had told her to rest or had given her a course of antibiotics for an assumed respiratory infection. It only took a moment with a stethoscope to realize that there was a lot more to the story as I heard a very significant heart murmur.
Her medical history and physical assessment indicated that she most likely had a congenital heart defect. When I asked her mom, she said no one had ever given her any indication that there might be something wrong with Livian’s heart. But she knew that Livian was getting sicker and sicker and that something serious had to be going on. We were able to refer her for an echocardiogram that same day and confirmed that she does have several heart defects. Through connections at a mission hospital in another part of the country, we have arranged for Livian to be seen by visiting specialists in early February.
After praying with her, Livian’s mom said that she feels hope for Livian for the first time. Just knowing what the problem is, means that there is hope to correct it. I’m so thankful that Livian walked into our medical center that morning. I’m hopeful that with surgery, she will be able to run, jump, and play with her friends like never before. We’ll keep you updated about plans for treatment once we hear back from the specialists next month. Little Livian has been a reminder to me of just how much hope really does matter.