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Girl (3) born with half a heart is 'flying' after three major surgeries

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Leonna Smith with daughter Megan, who had her third major surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome in February

Leonna Smith with daughter Megan, who had her third major surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome in February

Leonna Smith with daughter Megan, who had her third major surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome in February

Six months after she was fighting for her life, a three-year-old girl with a congenital heart defect is skipping into play school and "is the boss of the house", according to her proud mum.

Leonna Smith said at one point she was told doctors didn't know if her daughter Megan would survive.

Young Megan had her third major surgery in February this year for hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

"The left side of her heart stopped developing when I was five weeks pregnant so she only has half a heart," said Leonna (28).

She had her first open-heart surgery when she was three days old and has had two more since then.

The third, called the Fontan, was in February and despite initially doing well, she was rushed back to theatre because her lungs were filling with fluid.

She had a chest drain fitted, removing more than 240ml of fluid, and Megan was then back in intensive care.

Specialist

"There was a time when they told us we don't know if she will come back," Leonna said.

"Eight people were in the room and they just rushed her back to the operating theatre."

After five weeks, most of it in the intensive care unit, she was discharged in time to spend Easter at home.

However, she still has hospital appointments on a regular basis and all of her medical care is provided by a specialist cardiology team at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin.

Two years ago Leonna moved from Navan to Dublin to be closer to the hospital, and they now live in Lucan.

"Megan will be four in February and is doing brilliant. She is flying it now," she said.

"For a little girl that's been through so much, she never complains. I'm very proud of the little person she is becoming.

"She's very stubborn, very caring and is just the most amazing little girl in my eyes.

"She always goes [to play school] with a smile and comes home with a bigger one."

Leonna said Megan loves her big brother Michael (4), who is always by her side.

"He missed her when she was in hospital and they are lost without each other," she added.

Leonna wants to reassure parents of other children with serious cardiac conditions.

"I would say never, ever give up hope. The smallest, sickest of babies have thrived and proved doctors wrong," Leonna said.

"Megan was 2.35kg having her first surgery and no matter how many times I was told the risks, something inside me said, 'no, she can do this', and she did."


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