Early heart surgery leads to an accomplished life

February 18, 2011

I read with interest your article "From 'blue babies' to healthy adults" (Feb. 13).

In December, 1960, our first child, was born with a congenital heart defect, transposition of the great vessels. He was taken by ambulance to Johns Hopkins Hospital for evaluation and possible surgery. Dr. Helen Taussig, a pediatric cardiologist, invited us to her home on a cold, snowy winter's day, explained the heart defect and recommended surgery immediately. One week after my son's birth, Dr. Henry Bahnson operated successfully, and a month later Brad came home. We were filled with joy and happiness.

Our family was thrilled at how well Brad moved ahead on the educational level. He was invited to participate in the Johns Hopkins University program of the Mathematically and Scientifically Gifted.

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland Physics Program. Thirty years after his surgery, he received a PhD in Particle Physics from Columbia University in New York. He is now an editor of a leading physics journal for the American Physical Society in Long Island.

Because I knew of Dr. Taussig's dedication, devotion and caring for her young patients, I visited her at Hopkins to give her the news of Brad's graduation and the PhD he received from Columbia. She was filled with happiness and tears of joy. We appreciate Johns Hopkins Pediatric Cardiology, Dr. Taussig, Dr. Alfred Blalock and surgical technician Vivien Thomas for the techniques they developed that have saved children's lives.

There are 1 million adults and rising who, due to successful surgery, need specialized doctors and guidelines for treating adult congenital heart patients.

I hope they are able to move ahead on this new frontier of medicine.

Ruth Bogart Gans, Baltimore

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