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Our patients' stories: Lucas redefines the term "half-hearted"

  • Tripp Underwood
  • 10/15/2012 12:00:00 AM
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The next time you're tempted to refer to a lazy co-worker's efforts as "half-hearted," take a second to rethink that statement. In popular culture half-hearted may mean unmotivated, but around the McGowan house it means brave, strong and amazing.

Bill and Becky McGowan were just about five months into their first pregnancy when tests reveled that there was a problem with the baby's heart. The doctors explained their unborn child had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), one of the most devastating congenital heart defects, in which the left ventricle is severely underdeveloped.

They were stunned and scared, but also determined to give their child the best shot at life, half a heart and all. They quickly began researching treatment centers for HLHS, and were routinely directed to Boston Children's Hospital's Heart Center, the No. 1 ranked pediatric cardiac care team in the country, according to US News and World Report.

You can see a recent news story on Lucas here.

[caption id="attachment_17973" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Lucas the lion-hearted"][/caption]

To treat HLHS, Boston Children's cardiac surgeons often perform three palliative procedures. Lucas was operated on by Christopher Baird, MD, director of Boston Children's Congenital Heart Valve Program, and like 95 percent of the children treated for HLHS, he survived the first procedure. A few months later he survived his second, and will have his third surgery in the future.

Join us in wishing Lucas luck in his third surgery, and congratulating him on completely redefining what it means to be "half-hearted."

For more information on how Boston Children's treats hypoplastic left heart syndrome, as well as other pediatric heart issues, please Contact Our Team or Request an Appointment.

Love Lucas's story? Want to read more about tiny heart heroes? Please visit these blogs:

Connected by little hearts: When Jeffrey Cameron was born in 1996 he seemed to be a perfectly healthy baby. Then, at just ten days old, he was diagnosed with HLHS. Not only did Jeffrey overcome, his mother started a parent driven HLHS community that's still thriving today. Read their story.



Saving Parker: When Casey Bolton learned her unborn baby had a HLHS she had never even heard of the condition, never mind understand its complicated treatment. Now, inspired by the care she and her baby received at Boston Children's, the young mom works tirelessly to raise awareness on HLHS and its treatment so other mother's won't have to go through the fear and confusion she did. Read her story.


The other side of the bed. Cheryl Toole had been a nurse at Boston Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for over a decade when her day-old daughter had to undergo heart surgery. Here, she shares her experience as patient mother instead of care provider.

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