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Girl helped by local Marine leaves hospital

She'll spend time with host family before heart surgery

POSTED: February 12, 2008 5:03 a.m.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center/For The Times

Two-year-old Amenah, an Iraqi girl with a complex heart defect, left the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt Friday. A Gainesville Marine, Maj. Kevin Jarrard, has helped spearhead the initiative to get Amenah brought to the United States.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Two-year-old Amenah, an Iraqi girl with a complex heart defect, left the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt Friday. She will spend the next 10 days with a host family in suburban Nashville before returning for open heart surgery.

The young girl's plight was brought to light by Maj. Kevin Jarrard of Gainesville, who is serving his third tour in Iraq. Jarrard and others arranged for the girl to get the badly needed surgery at Vanderbilt.

Her doctors say she has recovered well from the stress of her transport from Iraq and infections that plagued her when she arrived. Final tests were performed on Wednesday and Thursday to examine the structure of her heart defect, and doctors say they now have a plan for her surgery, which is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11.

"Our current plan will be for Dr. (Karla) Christian to surgically divert the venous blood from her body directly to her lungs. This will augment the blood flow to her lungs and thereby improve her saturation (oxygenation)," said Thomas Doyle, Amenah's cardiologist at Vanderbilt. "We would like to give her another week to recover from her current respiratory infection before proceeding with open heart surgery."

Funds are still being sought to pay travel expenses for Amenah and her mother. An account has been established at BB&T Bank and contributions can be made at any of the bank's branch offices.




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