March 18, 2009
On November 1, 2008 the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sisters Hospital was faced with a big challenge wrapped up in a tiny pink package. Nora Higgins entered the world five months early, weighing only fifteen and a half ounces. She was not only premature but developed a life-threatening complication of prematurity called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA).
The ductus arteriosis is a blood vessel between the aorta and pulmonary artery that usually closes after birth. However in a small percentage of extremely premature infants, the ductus arteriosis remains open, resulting in life threatening cardiopulmonary complications.
Because Nora was too fragile to move, on November 14, 2008 Sisters Hospital collaborated with Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, St. Joseph Hospital and Pediatric Cardiology of Western New York to perform the delicate surgery. Dr. George Alfieris, a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon at Strong Memorial, Dr. Naseera Syed, an anesthesiologist at St. Joseph’s, and Dr. Joseph Orie, a cardiologist with the Pediatric Cardiology of WNY group, came to Sisters Hospital to perform the life saving surgery.
At the time of the surgery, Nora was only two weeks old and extremely ill. Since the surgery, she has been progressively gaining weight. Nora now weighs over seven pounds and was discharged. She sleeps in her own crib at home. Her parents are extremely thankful to all the doctors and nurses who are taking compassionate care of their little girl.
This was the fourth time the procedure was performed at Sisters Hospital with the help of Dr. Alfieris.