Lorenzo’s Journey to the Heart Institute at UPMC Children’s

In January 2022, Megan and Philip received devastating news during a 20-week ultrasound appointment for their baby boy, Lorenzo. The doctor diagnosed Lorenzo with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a congenital heart defect that affects the left side of the heart. “They told us there wasn’t a chance he would make it. It was traumatic,” says Megan.

Determined to find the best care for their son, Megan sought a second opinion and connected with Sunil Patel, MD, a pediatric cardiologist and adult congenital heart disease specialist at UPMC Harrisburg.

UPMC Children’s Expertise in Central PA

Dr. Patel reassured Megan and Philip that Lorenzo could undergo treatment for his condition and arranged a video appointment with Victor Morell, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Thanks to the easy exchange between Pittsburgh and Central PA, when more specialized expertise is needed, physicians at both hospitals were able to collaborate to create a plan for Lorenzo’s delivery and subsequent care in Pittsburgh.

Over the following weeks, Megan had regular appointments with Dr. Patel to monitor Lorenzo’s health. The UPMC Children’s team recommended that Megan and Philip relocate to Pittsburgh a month before Lorenzo’s due date to be closer to the hospital. However, Megan went into labor early.

“Days before we were supposed to move to Pittsburgh, I went into labor,” says Megan. “Philip and I went to a local hospital in Harrisburg, where they were going to fly us to Pittsburgh. But there was a terrible storm, so we ended up driving instead. My doctor called me every 30 minutes to make sure I was okay.”

Lorenzo’s Treatment in Pittsburgh

Eventually, they made it to UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, where Lorenzo was born and transferred to UPMC Children’s for specialized care.

Within days of his birth, a team of skilled surgeons at UPMC Children’s performed open heart surgery on Lorenzo. He spent several months recovering under close supervision. Megan and Philip stayed at the Ronald McDonald House, conveniently attached to the hospital, during Lorenzo’s hospitalization.

After successful recovery, Lorenzo underwent the Glenn procedure in August, redirecting blood flow from his upper body directly to his lungs. Once he was discharged, Megan, Philip, and Lorenzo returned home to Harrisburg, where they continue to see Dr. Patel every three months for regular check-ups. Dr. Patel maintains constant communication with the UPMC Children’s team in Pittsburgh to monitor Lorenzo’s condition and provide the best care possible, highlighting the easy access to UPMC Children’s quality care across the state.

Looking towards Lorenzo’s Healthy Future

Throughout Lorenzo’s journey, Megan and Philip have expressed deep gratitude for the entire team at UPMC Children’s. The compassionate care, support, and expertise they received have made a significant impact on their lives. The hospital staff became like family, accompanying them through both challenging and joyous moments.

As Lorenzo continues to grow, his parents are thankful for the comprehensive care he receives and wouldn’t choose anyone else for his ongoing medical needs. The exceptional collaboration between UPMC Harrisburg, Magee-Womens Hospital, and UPMC Children’s has allowed Lorenzo to receive top-notch care at every stage of his journey.

To read the full story of Lorenzo’s remarkable journey and learn more about the exceptional care provided at UPMC Children’s, please visit chp.edu.