John Ten PasIn Their Words

Gina Ten Pas
West Des Moines, Iowa

During the spring months of 2011 is when I made that life-saving phone call to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with John, a [Hypoplastic left heart syndrome] HLHSer. In all honesty, at the beginning of this “heart journey” I was not expecting to have such a positive experience. John’s diagnosis was grim and I felt numb. The hospital was so big and I was concerned he might fall through the cracks and be treated like a number. It wasn’t just the three successful open-heart surgeries that made me look at the hospital differently. It was the people. The teams of specialists who genuinely care for John and our family. I was not expecting to develop such a strong emotional attachment to this hospital. I was not expecting John to survive and develop normally alongside peers his own age. I was not expecting my son to be treated like a prized possession. UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital has a proven record of handling complex pediatric heart defects like HLHS. The care is focused on the individual patient. Never once did I ever feel like a number.

Our team includes:

  • Pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Law, our trusted constant. John recently spoke of him as “my best friend forever.” Everyone in this department has done a wonderful job servicing John’s medical needs.
  • Pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons, Dr. Turek and the late Dr. Davis and well as nurses Tina Davenport and Sue Crimmins are just plain awesome. Dr. Turek always takes the time to say hello and catch up. We just love how down to earth he is!
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU): Too many to name individually. A good handful of them will always hold a very special place in our hearts for going above and beyond the call of duty for our little John.
  • 2 JCP “The Floor.” With a constant smile, nurse Kayla always makes a point to visit.

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