Life-changing surgeries, closer to home - FOX34 Lubbock

Life-changing surgeries, closer to home

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Adrian Rosalez, 4, and his mom, Melissa, play before his heart surgery Adrian Rosalez, 4, and his mom, Melissa, play before his heart surgery
LUBBOCK, Texas -

"Heart surgery is not a simple thing. I can't take my suitcase of instruments and come to West Texas and do surgery. Heart surgery requires a large team of people. It requires a significant collaborative effort," Dr. Vincent Tam of Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth. 

Dr. Tam is the Medical Director of the Pediatric Cardiothoracic surgery unit in Fort Worth.

In 2018, Covenant Children's and Cook Children's teamed up to make complex surgeries more accessible to the kids of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. That partnership paid off this week, when 2 young patients got the care they needed, without traveling hours away from home. 

"Cook Children's brings such a good team and in conjunction with the expertise we have at Covenant Children's, we can do a lot of great things for people here," Chief Medical Officer of Covenant Children's, Dr. David Gray, said. 

Dr. Tam says he was happy to travel so the families didn't have to, especially during a pandemic. 

"Imagine that you, your family, are in a very stressful situation, and you have to travel hours from home. To me, that cannot possibly be ideal," Dr. Tam said.

4-year-old Adrian Rosalez and his mom,  Melissa Rosalez, were grateful to stay so close to home for his heart surgery. 

"It's a lifesaver" she said. "Not having to travel outside of town, and go so far, is easier on us."

Dr. Tam and his team were able to do both Adrian's and another 11-year-old girl's surgeries. 

Both patients are said to be doing well in recovery. 

The surgeries are not necessarily emergencies, but heart defects can cause several long-term issues.

With the right care, however, these kids, can just be kids.

"These kiddos will be able to lead normal lives. They'll be able to do whatever strenuous activities they would like to do without being impeded," Dr. Gray said. 

"He said probably within a week he might be back to his original self and be up and back to playing around and everything," Rosalez said. 

Covenant Children's hopes to schedule more of these surgeries at least 4 times a year and expand the partnership, to address the need in the South Plains. 

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