Doctors at Childrens Hospital of Orange County thought little Danny Ruiz might not live long enough to celebrate his first birthday. Ruiz, of Rosemead, was born with a congenital heart problem and had open heart surgery twice--at 6 and 11 months. But on April 18, he celebrated his first birthday, and on Friday he was able to go home with proud parents Jesse and Guadalupe Ruiz.
"He is an extremely strong-willed child," Danny's primary nurse, Mary Snider, said. "He had to be to survive everything he went through."
The baby's heart problem was characterized by the absence of one of two pulmonary valves, essential for regulating blood flow, and enlarged pulmonary arteries. When the baby was first brought to CHOC at 6 months, he was experiencing heart failure. The cardiology team implanted an artificial pulmonary valve in his heart. Afterward, he had to be put on a ventilator to help him breathe, Snider said.
"We tried to wean him from the ventilator but because his arteries were so big the blood flow to his lungs was too much," she said.