Young heart patient has faced tough road with grace, courage and optimism

Young heart patient has faced tough road with grace, courage and optimism
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Michael R. Mill, M.D.
Young heart patient has faced tough road with grace, courage and optimism
click to enlarge
Jennifer S. Nelson, M.D.

CourtneyCourtney, a 17-year-old cardiac patient, has been cared for by UNC doctors since she was a baby. She has been treated medically and surgically for her heart problems. Most recently, Michael R. Mill, M.D., repaired her mitral valve  in June 2013 and Jennifer S. Nelson, M.D., implanted  a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) when Courtney's heart was failing in August 2013. The LVAD, which is not often implanted in pediatric patients, will support her heart until she can receive a heart transplant.

Courtney's courage has impressed her doctors.

“The evening of her [LVAD] surgery, she woke up calmly, her breathing tube in place, and asked for a pen and paper,” Dr. Nelson said. “On that paper, the first thing she wrote was, 'Thank you. Courtney'. I still have a picture of that note. Every time I look at it, I am blown away by her bravery.”

In honor of Heart Month, read Courtney's story, from the N.C. Children's Hospital web site, here.