Baby receives life-saving surgery at Stanford

May 11, 2011 7:35:35 PM PDT
Of course for any family, that first birthday is very important, but for the Albrights it is a huge deal. They just moved from Washington State to Modesto to be closer to the doctor who has saved their daughter's life.

It has not been quite the smooth ride most parents expect for their children. When Shawna Albright was 18 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound revealed the baby had a heart defect.

"He sat us down and told us she had no chance," Shawna said. "There wasn't anyone in the world that was going to be able to fix her."

The Albrights were living in Washington State at the time. Another doctor in Seattle told them she knew of one surgeon at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford who could help -- Dr. Frank Hanley.

"He told us she had an 80 percent chance; I needed to deliver here so I had to come here when I was 32 weeks pregnant," Shawna said.

Doctors discovered Kennadee had a number of heart defects. It was one of the most complicated cases they have come across.

"So the position of the pumping chambers, the ventricles of the heart, were reversed," Dr. Gail Wright said. "There is a hole between the two pumping chambers and the valve that normally connects the heart out to the lungs was absent."

"A lot of fear, a lot of questions, a lot of anxiety, a lot of worry," Kennadee's father Don Albright said. "Here is my little girl coming into the world and now she has to fight for her life."

Kennadee was only two weeks old when she had her first operation. She has had two more open heart surgeries since.

Hanley is known around the world for reconstructing tiny blood vessels as small as a strand of spaghetti.

"Everybody is just proud of this little girl and everybody is just amazed at how well she is doing; she is definitely showing that she is a fighter and that she can handle it," Don said.

Hanley was not available to talk to ABC7 because he was operating. Kennadee will need several more surgeries and regular checkups over her lifetime, but for now she is celebrating one year at a time.

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