The day after Brenden was born in July 2018 nurses noticed there was something wrong during his bath time. The baby was having difficulty breathing. After several tests, they discovered that Brenden was born with a ventricular septal defect (VSD), a hole that forms in the wall between the heart’s lower chambers.
Brenden’s parents, Jacqueline and Michael, were referred to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. They traveled from their home in Naples, Florida to Miami to meet with Dr. Kristine Guleserian, congenital heart surgeon with the Heart Program at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, to discuss and prepare for a journey of open-heart surgery and testing for the little boy.
His surgery to repair the VSD was planned for February 2019. Jacqueline recalls how she was a total wreck the morning of the surgery. “Dr. Guleserian heard that I was struggling and came and found me in the family waiting area. She took the time to sit down and console me and remind me that she was going to take care of my son and that it was okay to feel scared and nervous,” Jacqueline says. “Her level of compassion and empathy was shocking to me. It made me realize that she not only cared about fixing his heart because it was her job to, she also cared about us and how we were feeling regarding the surgery.”
After the surgery, Dr. Guleserian met with the family and explained what she did to repair the hole in Brenden’s heart. She also let Brenden's parents know that she didn’t foresee any complications in the future.
“Not only is Dr. Guleserian an amazing heart surgeon, she is also an amazing person. She made us feel very comfortable and we felt like she took a lot of interest in Brenden’s wellbeing,” Jacqueline says. “The staff at Nicklaus Children's was just icing on the cake. They were extremely attentive and thorough when taking care of Brenden... We can’t say enough good things about every single person that we came in contact with at that hospital.”
Brenden took about three to five weeks to recover and soon had more energy to eat and play. He recently celebrated his first birthday and he has surpassed all milestones. Today he is a vibrant, healthy, determined little boy who loves animals and playing outdoors.
“Having a sick child is harder than anybody could ever imagine, but if your child is being treated by Nicklaus Children's, you can rest reassured that they are in the best possible hands,” Jacqueline says. “They have a very dedicated staff with large hearts who not only are capable of helping your child but helping you get through one of the toughest moments in your life.”