PETER & ZACH’S STORY

“I tell all my friends we’re so grateful. This hospital is amazing.”

Peter & Zach, Staten Island, Tetralogy of Fallot
The doctors said the chances of having two babies born with the same rare heart condition were slim – “You’d be more likely to win the lottery,” their father commented, as young Peter (8) and Zachary (5) practiced their karate moves, “but it happened. Everyone has something. This is what they have. I got two heart babies, yet I feel like the luckiest father alive.”

Yet, it was more than luck that the pediatric cardiologist was in the NICU when Peter turned blue in the nursery just four hours after delivery. “Staten Island University Hospital had just partnered with LIJ – so they took him by ambulance to CCMC,” his mom recalls. Born in need of a conduit for his pulmonary artery, Peter underwent his first open heart surgery at the tender age of two-days-old. Zachary, age 5, was born with a constricted artery and also underwent surgery as an infant to stretch the passageway.

“It’s been a blessing to come here from day one,” their mom explains. “We never expected to be in this place. It’s been very traumatic for us for the last seven to eight years.” Now eight, Peter recently received a replacement artery which will likely last on into adulthood. In the future both brothers will require valve replacements, which can be done thru catheters. “I tell all my friends we’re so grateful. This hospital is amazing.”

“The difficult part is they are going to have some restrictions as they get older,” their dad added. “They will have to be monitored and go for a yearly checkup. When they get into high school they will have to be more careful not to play in contact sports. It’s a difficult thing and a difficult time – because at the end of the day your child has a heart condition – but Cohen Children’s Medical Center makes it easier for you.”