When Melissa was just a day old, she was diagnosed with a diaphragmatic hernia, a birth defect involving an abnormal opening in the diaphragm that results in abdominal contents moving into the chest cavity. Melissa was transported to NCH for emergency surgery to repair the baby’s diaphragm. Her father Frank, says “As far as I am concerned, [Dr. Burnweit] saved her life.”
During her first few years of life, Melissa was in and out of Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, as she learned to adapt to the condition, which affects the lungs. Melissa is now a 21-year-old thriving college student and is working a part-time job in Tampa. She lives a normal life and her father is grateful for everything that NCH and Dr. Burnweit did for her.
“I give thanks to you every time I look at her and could not comprehend what my life would be like without her. She is very special to me because I know what she went through and what you did to provide her the opportunity to live,” he said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
For more information, to make an appointment or to contact the NCH Department of Pediatric Surgery, please call (305) 662-8320