(submitted by Atticus's grandmother Maryanne)
Atticus was born without a left ventricle in his heart. On Nov. 13, 2007, he entered the Stollery Children's Hospital for his third open-heart surgery with the hope of a full lifespan ahead of him. ... We knew that a transplant might be needed later, but after two very tough operations and delayed recovery, we were full of hope that this time he would sail through the operation and recovery and soon be back with his sister, Jordan.
That was our hope. ... [but] his failing heart left us all feeling devastated and Atticus in heart failure.
Although he was high risk for a heart transplant, on Jan. 24, 2008, he had his heart transplant.
After four months in pediatric intensive care, he was released from Stollery on Easter Monday. On April 8, he celebrated his third birthday by clowning with his five-year-old sister and eating chocolate cake. He is off oxygen and is the same loving, inquisitive, friendly little fellow he was on Nov. 13.
Atticus lives because of the skills, dedication and caring of the many health professionals we met on our four-month voyage through medical care in Alberta. ... His surgeon took two holidays that I am aware of during Atticus's crises and each time phone calls and e-mails were exchanged — some holiday. Some doctors continue to be available 24 hours a day for Atticus.
There were many very special doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals who stood out during Atticus's stay. One doctor continued to visit Atticus on her own time weeks after he had left the intensive care unit, even though the doctor was no longer assigned to that unit.
The true hero of this story is Atticus. He has a will to live and thrive that allowed the medical professionals to work their miracles.
Excerpts of a letter which appeared in The Edmonton Journal
Monday, April 14, 2008