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Why I still go to Texas Children's Hospital

I was born with two heart defects – transposition of the great vessels (TGV) and ventricular septal defect (VSD). Since the age of 6, when my family moved to Texas, I have been treated by doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital. The question I get most often when I tell my story is, “You still go to a children’s hospital?” My response is always “Absolutely.” The team of doctors that I see now work in the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Texas Children’s.

Growing up I saw a team of pediatric cardiologists that monitored my progress until I graduated high school. When I graduated and was making the transition to college they did not have a real solution for patients who survived to the age of 18. With the improvements in medical technology in the field, survival was quickly becoming the norm. The natural solution was that adults would transition to an adult cardiologist, which is what I did.

The problem with that is that congenital heart defects are very different from adult heart disease. My doctor at the time, although very good, did not have the knowledge or experience to treat someone with multiple childhood defects and the treatment that went along with it. I was close to that realization when I began to have symptoms of heart failure. This was in 1998, so I went back to Texas Children’s where they recommended another surgery. This was my first major operation at Texas Children’s and Dr. Fraser did an outstanding job. Once I recovered I asked about future treatment and that was when I was introduced to Dr. Wayne Franklin.

Dr. Franklin was starting a new program specifically for adults with congenital heart disease and defects.  From that day on I have been in the care of Dr. Franklin and his growing, yet outstanding team of dedicated people. They have absolutely helped me and my family through some of the leading innovations of my treatment. There is absolutely no other place I would rather be than in this program.

Author
Rusty Hames, patient