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A Happy Heart in El Salvador

Field Report by Dina Sleiman

EL SALVADOR — The most joyous day in Mabel’s life was when she learned she was pregnant. Throughout her pregnancy, she cared for her own body and her baby’s health.

She experienced no complications and Mabel blissfully anticipated being a mother. But upon the birth of her precious baby boy, Liam, Mabel and her husband, Jorge, received gut-wrenching news. Their baby’s heart had not fully developed. Liam was born with a congenital heart defect known to cause holes in the heart.

Diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect Known as Hole in Heart

Sadly, Liam spent many of his first days in the hospital, in the intensive care unit under strict supervision. Doctors diagnosed him with a ventricular septal defect and more problems with his heart’s arteries. The layman’s term’s for this congenital heart defect is hole in heart. Mabel and Jorge felt blindsided by the news. Liam eventually gained enough strength for his parents to take him home. But the doctor warned Mabel that the 5 small holes in his heart would continue to expand as Liam grew, causing problems for her son.

Over the next 10 months, Liam’s health issues worsened as the doctor had predicted due to the hole in heart symptoms. He reached a critical point of needing heart surgery in order to save his life.

“When the doctor called us and sat us down to explain our son’s situation, my eyes filled with tears,” Mabel recalled. “I felt helpless.”

A Prayer to Heal Liam’s Heart

Then, both Mabel and Jorge immediately began to pray, asking God for a miracle. Mabel had not been working due to Liam’s medical needs and Jorge received income only from a small family business. As people with limited resources, they knew it would take a miracle to afford the surgery.

“If Liam isn’t operated on this year, my son may lose his life. That’s how clear and specific the doctor’s words were,” Mabel said. Timing was running out.

Liam is getting surgery to repair the effects of his congenital heart disease.

Operation Blessing’s Surgery for Congenital Heart Disease to Fix the Hole in Liam’s Heart

Mabel had heard of Operation Blessing through a local health ministry. She reached out, hoping that they could be the miracle she needed. And the OB El Salvador office gave her the answer she had been praying for—the hole in Liam’s heart could be helped!

Thanks to generous Operation Blessing partners like you, Liam received the operation he desperately needed to heal him of the effects of this type of congenital heart disease. His arterial duct was mended and the holes were closed. The surgery was a success, changing the course of Liam’s life forever. He is now in recovery, recently having celebrated his first birthday with health and happiness, and it’s all thanks to you.

Liam is now healthy after his life changing surgery from Operation Blessing friends.

The Impact of a Life-Changing Heart Surgery

“We have no words to thank you for what you have done for my son!” Mabel said. “It is indescribable—this happiness that we have. We hope that you will continue to help other families and children who need it so much, because as parents we only want the best for our children.”

Thank you so much for giving life to Liam and for being the miracle Mabel and Jorge prayed for. Your generous heart gave Liam’s a new rhythm to beat to!

Want to know more? Check out Jose’s heart surgery story as well.

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