4-month-old Texas boy goes home on Valentine’s Day after successful heart surgery at OU Children’s

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A little baby’s heart is pumping stronger than ever, as his parents rest a little easier.

So often, we hear of people traveling out of state to get specialized health care, but this Texas family put their child’s life in the hands of an Oklahoma City surgeon.

As a parent, when our child cries, we want to fix everything every problem.

But, what do you do if it’s a problem that very few people can fix?

Worse yet, what about a problem that could claim your child’s life?

“I did start panicking,” said Sadie Eilers. “It was a very high-stress situation.”

Eilers, a Fort Worth resident, said the news about her 4-month-old son Takoda’s condition hit their family hard and fast.

“Went to a well baby checkup, and they heard a murmur so they sent him to the ER,” she said.

Soon, doctors in Texas found out little Takoda had narrowings in the branches to his heart and one of his lungs. He needed surgery, but the family was denied care because of an issue with insurance.

“They didn’t refer us to anyone else,” Eilers said. “They just said that ‘We can’t help you.'”

Though it was devastating to hear, the mom did what moms do best. She didn’t give up.

Eilers did some research and found her two best options for surgery were in Oklahoma City and Houston. She chose Oklahoma City.

“And, it was the best decision I ever made,” she said.

While her husband, a truck driver, was tied up with work, worrying from miles away, Eilers went to OU Children’s Hospital with little Takoda where she met up with Dr. Harold Burkhart.

Burkhart diagnosed Takoda with William’s Syndrome, a narrowed lung artery and a narrowed aorta.

“Normally, the size of the aorta should be about 10 mm or so, about the size maybe of a penny, and his was not much bigger than a pencil; it’s actually smaller than that,” Burkhart said.

On January 31st, Eilers had to say goodbye to her son as he headed in for a five-and-a-half-hour surgery.

“I can’t even describe the feeling,” she said. “It was, it was just very rough.”

The surgery wasn’t easy. There was a scare along the way – but Takoda pulled through.

“He saved my son’s life because, at any point, I could have woke up and my son wouldn’t have been with me anymore,” Eilers said.

Takoda will have to have more doctor’s visits ahead, but his prognosis looks good.

“Surely, he will be able to be a very active little boy, a very normal boy with regard to his heart,” Burkhart said.

“He’s a little stinker,” Eilers said. “He is a little stinker, I will say that. He’s given them a run for their money.”

Ironically, little Takoda got to go home from the hospital on Valentine’s Day – with a new and improved heart.

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