When Cara was 18 weeks pregnant, with a seemingly easy and healthy pregnancy, she was told during a routine ultrasound that the procedure was not providing clear pictures of her daughter’s heart. Cara’s OB team asked her to return in two weeks for an additional ultrasound. Cara was assured there was very little to worry about, given the overall healthy appearance of the baby. But at that-20 week appointment, she was told that her daughter appeared to have structural heart defects, the exact nature of which would have to be determined by other specialists.

Several weeks and a few doctors later, Cara was seen by Children’s Hospital at Erlanger pediatric cardiologist, Nisha Surenderanath. Dr. Nisha, as she is known, informed Cara that her child appeared to have substantial congenital heart defects and would likely require at least three heart surgeries after she was born. Cara recalls, “Dr. Nisha was kind, compassionate and thorough in delivering the heart-wrenching news and has continued to be our rock and our hero since Ellie was born.”

Ellie was born in Atlanta and had two open-heart surgeries there; however, she has received all other cardiology care at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, including weekly visits for the first several months of her life. Ellie has undergone innumerable echocardiograms, EKGs and chest x-rays at Children’s Hospital. “All were done with great love and affection,” says Cara. “Dr. Nisha and her team have taken wonderful care of Ellie, going out of their way to ensure that she remained healthy as possible.” Ellie has also had to make several visits to the Emergency Room at Children’s Hospital because of secondary complications. “Each time she has been treated by skilled nurses and doctors who worked diligently to care for Ellie,” adds Cara.

At just over one year old, Ellie has already had two open-heart surgeries with at least one more in the near future. But you’d never know it by looking at her. She’s just a regular toddler, crawling, cruising and leaving a fun, adorable mess wherever she goes. Cara says, “With Children’s Hospital at Erlanger caring for her and watching over her, Ellie will continue to thrive and continue to be a miracle child.”

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