Anderson Benfield wasn't supposed to have open heart surgery. But when he was just 4 months old, doctors told his mom, Jillian, that he had two holes in his heart that needed to be repaired right away.
The former TV news anchor, who lives in Tucson, AZ, was crushed--and mad. She'd already had to face doctors who'd said her son, who was born with Down syndrome, wouldn't have much of a future.
"Our doctor told us basically that the range of possibilities to our son was that he would never be able to feed himself or at best, flip burgers for a living," Benfield told ABC News. "We were definitely devastated at first. It wasn't until we gathered our strength, when we researched Down syndrome more and realized that what that doctor said was outdated."
I am so overwhelmed by the response I got to this article. It's about my FIRST encounter with a stranger about Anderson....Posted by Jillian C Benfield on Wednesday, June 3, 2015
I am so overwhelmed by the response I got to this article. It's about my FIRST encounter with a stranger about Anderson....
So Benfield feared for the worse when she met the pediatric heart surgeon. But he proved a different type of doctor.
"I asked you, 'Have you ever lost a baby from this heart surgery?' You looked down and said, 'Yes,'" Benfield wrote in The Mighty. "There was one little girl, one among thousands, who also had Down syndrome, who went home and died in her sleep. Even though the loss was more than a decade ago, I could tell it still pained your heart. That’s when I knew you were the one."
The doctor also comforted her before the surgery, and assured her it was going to be okay.
"An Open Letter to My Son's Heart Surgeon"--Please SHARE with your physician and aspiring doctor friends. You are so...Posted by Jillian C Benfield on Thursday, August 20, 2015
"An Open Letter to My Son's Heart Surgeon"--Please SHARE with your physician and aspiring doctor friends. You are so...
"If my son were born in the ’80s, his life expectancy would have been around 25 years old. Now, his life expectancy is 60. This is in large part because of people like you," Benfield's letter continued.
"You spent about two decades of your life sacrificing and learning so that you would know how to perform near miracles."
"When we were kids, we were taught that superheroes come with big muscles and capes. As an adult, I’ve realized they often times come in surgical caps and scrubs."
When the Arizona doctor read the letter, his family contacted Benfield and thanked her. She told ABC News that she just wanted to shine a light on the "fact that medical professionals are still good."
As for her son, he's thriving after his operations. "He's a fighter," Benfield said.
Posted by Jillian C Benfield on Sunday, May 31, 2015
via ABCNews.com and The Mighty
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