After Travel Ban Delay, ‘Every Day Was Critical’ For Iranian Baby With Heart Defect

Hospital officials in Oregon said that an infant from Iran, who arrived in the U.S. yesterday since the travel ban was suspended, will now be able to undergo surgery to correct her dangerous heart condition.

On Tuesday, Fatemeh was allowed to enter the U.S., finally allowing her doctors to evaluate her in person.

“Fatemeh looks well. Our tests this morning have confirmed her diagnosis and the urgent need for treatment,” Dr. Laurie Armsby, associate professor of pediatrics and interim head, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, said in a statement yesterday. “As we suspected, her heart condition has resulted in injury to her lungs, however the studies today indicate that she has presented to us in time to reverse this process.”

PHOTO: Graphic showing the surgical procedure that Four-month-old Fatemeh Reshad, who was born with a complex, life-threatening heart defect known as transposition of the great arteries, or TGA, will undergo to remedy his condition. OHSU
Graphic showing the surgical procedure that Four-month-old Fatemeh Reshad, who was born with a complex, life-threatening heart defect known as transposition of the great arteries, or TGA, will undergo to remedy his condition.

Four-month-old Fatemeh Reshad was born with a life-threatening genetic heart defect, where two main arteries are reversed, according to officials from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The hospital said before she arrived that acting quickly would be important with her condition since it can weaken other organs over time, as well.

“Certainly the delay of a few days or week is something we can manage,” Armsby had said in a press conference on Saturday. “There is a point in which the changes in the heart and lungs would be irreversible.”

The infant and her parents had been working with lawyers and other officials to enter the U.S. after President Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban most travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations.

“Their original visa appointment was scheduled for 2/5,” the family’s attorney, Jennifer Morrissey told ABC News. “They were informed of the cancellation on 1/27, when the travel ban was announced. So the delay was just a few days, but obviously every day was critical given her medical condition.”

The family was able to enter the country after working with the Department of Homeland Security, according to Morrissey.

“I can just comment that the reach out to us from the Department of Homeland Security was specific to her case,” Morrissey said at a press conference on Saturday. Physicians at OHSU announced Saturday that they would be treating Fatemeh, since no hospital in Iran was able to perform the delicate surgery to fix her heart. The baby has relatives living near the hospital.

With Fatemeh in the U.S., the doctors expect to do further monitoring before she undergoes the major surgery.

Hospital officials released a statement on behalf of the infant’s family after she safely arrived in the U.S.

“Fatemeh’s family, including her grandparents and uncle who live in Portland, Oregon, are deeply grateful for the outpouring of kindness and support they’ve received throughout their journey to the United States,” the statement said, “and would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make their trip possible.”

Read More at ABC News

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