OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “I like to play baseball, play with my brother and my friends,” Davis Sharpe said.
But it is something his mother was not sure he would ever get to do.
“I remember thinking, ‘will he ever get to play sports?'” Marianne Sharpe said.
Thanks to the doctors at OU Children’s Hospital, he does.
“The day that he was born, they heard a heart murmur after delivery, and he was diagnosed with tricuspid atresia with pulmonary stenosis,” Marianne said.
It was a lot to take in for the new mother.
“You’ve just become a mom and have this beautiful baby, and you hear this diagnosis. You just have this fear, and you wonder what his future is going to look like, what the next few hours are going to look like, the next few months,” she said.
The entire right side of Davis’s heart was underdeveloped. Dr. Kent Ward is Davis’s doctor and began the first of many procedures.
“We basically re-plumb the heart. The heart is a pump, and we do a re-plumbing job, and we reroute the blood in a different way to get more blood going to the lungs to make the oxygen saturations come up and be livable for a while, but to do that we usually can’t do all that in one operation right after birth,” Ward said.
Davis had to have three operations– the first when he was six weeks old. But not all of the surgeries could be done in Oklahoma. Davis and his family had to travel to Houston for two of them.
“That was before Dr. Burkhart was here,” Marianne said. “We would be there for a month at a time for each of those surgeries, because after surgery you have to stay somewhat close to make sure everything is ok.”
“With the addition of Dr. Burkhart, who came from the Mayo Clinic in 2014, he was able to bring sequentially specialists in pediatric cardiovascular anesthesia into the intensive care unit, into the neonatal intensive care unit, and our own pediatric cardiology has expanded from about 5 to about 16 doing pediatric cardiology,” Ward said.
Now, the pediatric heart program at OU Children’s Hospital is fully equipped to take care of all of Oklahoma’s heart babies.
“That’s why we are big advocates for Children’s Hospital Foundation,” Marianne said.
Their support did not begin with Davis, however. Marianne’s sister, Davis’s aunt, was also born with a heart defect.
“My sister was diagnosed with a hole in her heart when she was 11 years old,” Marianne said.
“I’ve taken care of Davis’s aunt when she was a teenager. I’ve actually taken care of his mom when she was a teenager, and I’ve taken care of Davis,” Ward said. “So I know that family very well.”
That was in 1989. Fast forward 20 years and now there is Davis.
“I think it’s amazing that Oklahoma’s children can stay close to home and don’t have to go anywhere for treatment for such complex heart conditions,” Marianne said.
Because you never know just where these little hearts will end up one day.
“I want to be a professional baseball player,” Davis said. “New York Yankees.”
To nominate a child to be featured on “A Heart 4 Kids”, email Jeremiah-Lane@ouhsc.edu.
This segment is sponsored by The children’s Hospital Foundation. If you’d like to donate to the Children’s Hospital Foundation to help keep this and other life-saving medical programs here in Oklahoma, visit CHFKids.com