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A “Double Miracle” Repairs Jocelyn’s Heart

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During Jessica’s 20-week ultrasound, she learned something wasn’t right with her baby’s heart. That same day, Jessica and her husband, John, met with Dr. Craig Sable, a cardiologist at Children’s National Hospital.

Dr. Sable confirmed their baby had a congenital heart defect known as d-TGA, or transposition of the great arteries. This occurs when the two main arteries carrying blood out of the heart are reversed. Baby Jocelyn would need lifesaving open-heart surgery when she was born. 

“Months before she even had a name, Jocelyn already had a brilliant medical team behind her,” recalls Jessica. “We were scared but knew we were in great hands.” 

After Jocelyn recovered from surgery, the family was relieved that they would need to return for only annual check-ups with Dr. Sable. These visits went smoothly until spring 2021. Her heart ultrasound did not look the same and her heart murmur sounded different. Further tests showed a narrowing of her main pulmonary artery and left coronary artery. She would need another open-heart surgery to prevent serious complications or even death.

“As shocking as this news was, we felt calm because they had a plan to repair Jocelyn’s heart,” Jessica says.

Dr. Yves d’Udekem, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Children’s National, performed a cardiac bypass surgery — which is rarely done on kids — and a pulmonary repair. Jocelyn recovered quickly and began second grade a month later.

Jocelyn is now an energetic second grader who is back to participating in Girl Scouts and playing lacrosse. Since 2014, the family has participated in the hospital’s annual Race for Every Child. In 2021, Team Jocelyn was the top fundraising team and raised nearly $100,000 to support world-class care and research that will help other families.

“The team at Children’s National gave us a double miracle,” says Jessica. “We are grateful every day.”