In honor of American Heart Month, we’re highlighting a program at Children’s Health that has become something good for the families of heart patients, especially during the pandemic.
A family of a little boy from Dallas can attest to that.
“My favorite character is Captain America," Georgie Castro, told NBC 5, showing off his comic book character T-shirt.
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His mom, Jessica, calls him "Super Georgie" and it's not just because he loves superheroes.
Georgie was born missing one of the four chambers of his heart. When he was only four days old he had his first open-heart surgery.
After his surgery, he was enrolled in the Safe at Home Program through Children's Health so he could recover at home to be close to his family. His mom credits his progress over the years to the program.
The program has proved especially helpful for families during the pandemic, who fear exposure in a hospital setting.
“I think it’s a great idea because being at the hospital is tough, especially when they’re so delicate after this first surgery," Jessica Castro said. "We were in the CVICU and it’s tricky, especially if you have other children. I have two other boys and being at the hospital is tough, I’d rather be at home.”
After a period of healing at the hospital, families are allowed to continue their healing journey in the safety of their own homes. Families are given a tablet to input patient data like weight and vitals. They’re also given medical equipment, countless resources, and 24-7 access to doctors, who are ready to respond at a moment's notice.
"It’s just like having the staff there with you because they’re one call away," Castro said.
The Safe At Home program is the only one of its kind in North Texas and is now celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Around 300 children have graduated from it so far.
The program is reserved only for children who have undergone very complex heart conditions.
Nationally, Children’s Health has some of the best statistics and outcomes for heart single ventricles patients that are enrolled in the SAH program. The national mortality is around 5.7% and Children's Health is 1.28%.