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Heart Center Making a Baby’s – and a Family’s – Heart Whole
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Making a Baby’s – and a Family’s – Heart Whole

Lindsay Tate’s pregnancy had progressed smoothly. From all indications, including ultrasounds, the tiny life growing inside of her was a healthy, robust baby. So Lindsay and husband Erik were caught off-guard the day after their baby, Penelope, was born in January 2012. Tests showed low oxygen-saturation levels, prompting doctors to perform an echocardiogram.  

Discovering the Cause

Penelope is now 2 years old
and thriving after heart surgery.

The test showed that the heart of the Cameron, Mo., couple’s newborn had two holes: an atrial septal defect (ASD) and a ventricular septal defect (VSD). As alarming as Penelope’s condition sounded, her cardiologist was reassuring. He suggested monitoring her heart over the next few months. It was possible, he explained, that the holes could close on their own. By June, however, Lindsay and Erik were meeting with specialists. The doctor had decided they would need to surgically repair what Mother Nature had not. 

“Obviously, it was a very scary time for our family,” Lindsay explained. “But, we always felt like she was in the best hands. I mean, certainly, there were a lot of concerns. But just from the very beginning—from the echocardiogram when she was a day old up until when she went home from the surgery—we were always told exactly what was going on.”

High Expectations

It helped that all of the staff at Children’s Mercy were so confident. Gary Lofland, MD, the surgeon, told the couple, “You know, this is one of the things that we cure,” Lindsay remembered. And the continuous communication pre-surgery and during the procedure was extra reassuring.

“Everybody was always very willing to answer our questions at any point in the process,” Lindsay said. She was particularly grateful for the nurse practitioner on the surgery team who constantly monitored the progress and kept them updated. After all, Lindsay explained, “That's the hardest time—when you're waiting.”

Supreme Results

The surgery went perfectly. Today, Penelope is healthy, growing and developing as expected, and the Tates have nothing but compliments for the Children’s Mercy team. 

She is now a vibrant 2-year-old now who enjoys playing with friends and family, reading books, swimming, learning sign language (Penelope knows more than 150 signs!), dancing, taking care of her baby dolls, visiting the KC Zoo and water parks, going for walks and attending church.

“As parents, we love knowing that Penelope is in the very best hands every time we walk into Children’s Mercy,” said Lindsay. “Having to take your child in for surgery or to the doctor frequently isn't fun for anyone, but it is so wonderful to have a place like Children’s Mercy available to us. We love the warm, colorful, and inviting environment and the staff, nurses and doctors who go above and beyond to ensure the best care possible.”

Penelope loves all her doctors and nurses at Children’s Mercy, but her favorite is Dr. Lofland. Lindsay’s mom sums it up best, “I mean, he fixed her heart – that’s a tough one to beat!”


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