Family travels from Rome to Ann Arbor to save their daughter’s life

fetal cardiac intervention Ryan and Ellen Reedy had some challenges getting pregnant with their first child, so when they discovered in February 2013 that they were expecting, they were over the moon with joy. The two originally met in college.  After getting married, they moved outside of Rome, Italy, where Ryan serves as the Vice Director of their alma mater’s Rome Program. They planned to have their baby in Italy, a place they love.

Their plans took a dramatic turn in late June when a routine ultrasound found a spot on their baby’s heart. The doctor told them not to worry, it was probably just a calcification that would go away. Shortly after that, they had further ultrasounds and a fetal echocardiogram. This time the news was not good.

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Hail to the Little Victors: Peter Bodkin’s Story

peter bodkin family

The Bodkin family: Sam Emily, Peter, Ben, Katherine

Our son, Peter, was born in Lansing, Michigan, on the evening of October 8, 2008 – healthy and happy after a normal pregnancy. Then, suddenly, when he was about 4 hours old, he turned blue. At 5 a.m., he was diagnosed with pulmonary atresia, a serious congenital heart defect.

We were transferred to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital when Peter was just one day old, and six days later he underwent open heart surgery.

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Erasing the need for heart transplants

U-M doctors are exploring ways to grow heart tissue for patients, from their own skin cells

Above: Heart tissue created from pluripotent stem cells pulse in a petri dish in Dr. Si’s research lab.

It may sound like a plot point from a sci-fi thriller, but turning skin cells into heart tissue is what Ming-Sing Si, MD, is doing in his research lab at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. And one day, it might eliminate the need for heart transplantation.

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Sweetheart profiles: Gabe and Sonal Owens

In celebration of Valentine’s month and Congenital Heart Defect Awareness month, we’re bringing the best of both worlds together through a series of profiles about some of the Congenital Heart Center team members you know and love, in the eyes of their sweethearts!  We hope you enjoy getting to know the “cupids” among our faculty and staff!

The summer before Gabe Owens, MD, PhD, started medical school at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, a friend invited him to join a group on a white water rafting trip. It was on that trip that he met his future wife, Sonal Owens, MD. They became friends, but there was no love connection at the time.

“Almost a year later, we started dating. It took some convincing on my part,” recalls Gabe, a pediatric cardiologist at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s Congenital Heart Center. Sonal was a year ahead of Gabe in Medical School. When Sonal, also a pediatric cardiologist who specializes in imaging, was deciding where to complete her residency, she made pro/con lists for all the programs. “It came down to a program in Philadelphia and one in Cleveland. The pro list for Philadelphia was long, the pro list for Cleveland only had three items on it — and they were all me,” says Gabe. Continue reading

Sweetheart profiles: Ron and Kelley Grifka

In celebration of Valentine’s month and Congenital Heart Defect Awareness month, we’re bringing the best of both worlds together through a series of profiles about some of the Congenital Heart Center team members you know and love, in the eyes of their sweethearts!  We hope you enjoy getting to know the “cupids” among our faculty and staff!

The Grifka family: Ron, son-in-law Patrick, Derek, Jackie, Natalie and Kelley.

When Kelley Mitchell was in her early 20s, her two older sisters kept trying to set her up with the younger brother of a friend. Kelley’s sister and the boy’s older brother were great friends and thought they would be a great match. Kelley wanted nothing to do with the set up.

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