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The Bass Family, Hattiesburg: Pulse Ox Matters

by Elizabeth W. on Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Written by Amy Bass, Abby's mother

After a very difficult and unpromising pregnancy, by the grace of God, my daughter was born on February 9, 2004. We were told for months that she wouldn’t survive the pregnancy due to complications. However, upon delivery, Abby was placed in the well-baby nursery. We were on top of the world! A very grim pregnancy ended with a seemingly healthy baby girl, until the following morning. The doctor entered my hospital room, sat on the foot of my bed, and delivered the most devastating news any parent could hear. My tiny baby girl was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta, a congenital heart defect. Due to the results of a pulse oximetry screening, additional testing was ordered that revealed her heart defect. Had the doctor not ordered this screening, Abby’s heart defect would’ve been undiagnosed which could have been fatal. It breaks my heart to think of all the undiagnosed heart defects that result in the loss of a life when a simple non-invasive screening could be done on every infant and would result in saving many lives.

Abby required open heart surgery when she was only four days old. The day after her surgery, Abby coded. The hospital staff were able to perform CPR directly on Abby's heart due to her chest being left open after surgery. She was then placed on a machine called ECMO, which literally pumped the blood throughout her body giving her time to heal. She remained on ECMO for eight days and then continued on the ventilator for five additional weeks. It was during these days and months that we fully came to understand God's grace. It wasn't until we were completely helpless that we realized how awesome God is. Abby later required a second open heart surgery at 18 months old. Once again, God watched over her and carried us through.

Abby is simply a walking miracle. She is now ten years old and is one of the most loving people you will ever meet. She is so kind hearted, and she has an inspiring love for people. Abby’s presence literally lights up a room. Through her sickness and now in her good health, she has already impacted many lives, including ours. Abby has the best HEART of anyone that we know!

To read more about Abby's story visit: