Register | Forgot Your Password? | Close
graduation_pch.jpg
Attendees of the "graduation" ceremony wave. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- Thursday was "Graduation Day" at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

More than 20 heart patients under seven months old all got diplomas declaring that it is now safe for them to go home.

PCH Chief Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Pophall said the kids were among the sickest of the sick.

"Everyone's heart is supposed to have four chambers and four valves," he said. "Many of those children have only two chambers and only two valves, or there's holes that are everywhere inside the heart, and the tubes that go in and out of the heart aren't in the right spot."

The kids health conditions have improved because they each underwent two surgeries as part of PCH's Complex Congenital Heart Infant Evaluation and Followup, or CHIEF program.

"The kids who were really the sickest of sick heart babies now get to go home, and they go home with a diploma and a graduation certificate," Pophall said.

One of those babies is six-month-old Lorenzo Olearus. His dad, Nicky, said he's relieved and looking forward to Lorenzo's future.

"He's going to make it. He's going to have a big inspirational story to tell, thanks to the medical team here at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

What they do for babies like Lorenzo is amazing, and they are truly heroes, in my mind."

Bob McClay, Reporter

share this story:
Attention KTAR.com Comment Users: We have recently changed our comments boards.
We would like you to be part of the conversation and The Voice of Arizona by logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing KTAR (Arizona Sports) account members will need to create a Disqus account or use one of the aforementioned social media logins. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus

World Class Arizona

  • Dignity Health

    World Class People. World Class Company. Excellent care, delivered with compassion, for all in need.

Voice For A Better Arizona

  • Family in Focus

    KTAR spends the week taking a look at the issues a modern Arizona family faces.