Children Flock To New Orleans For Lifesaving Surgery

5-yr-old Julia Villarta has just arrived at Children’s Hospital Uptown after an exhausting 36-hour trip from her home in the Philippines. It’s hard to imagine, but this little girl has a dangerous heart condition. Two of her chambers, which should be divided are not.

LSUHSC Cardiothoracic Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Joseph Caspi says, “So the blood is flowing to the wrong direction. It’s going to the right side and to the lungs, so the lungs are seeing too much blood.”

“I can never explain how I felt when the doctor told me about Julia’s heart,” says Julia’s mother Dann Ria Gonzales Villarta, “There she was telling me am I going to be okay or am I going to be d-e-a-d, she said that word.”

It was about a year ago when Julia’s mother first found out about her daughters heart problem. Living in the Philippines and with no access to health insurance that lifesaving surgery would have cost her $20,000, a price she just couldn’t afford, that’s when she turned to HeartGift.

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