Albany Med’s team of exceptional doctors and nurses allowed 4-year-old Darin Vail of Greene County to thrive while receiving complex care close to home.
In 2009, at 19 weeks pregnant, his mother Missy Vail, who had three young children, was given the news that her baby had dangerous heart and kidney defects that would require multiple highly sophisticated surgeries, including one immediately after delivery.
Darin’s care, which required the attention of numerous specialists and surgeons, was coordinated by Neil Devejian, MD, director of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery and the region’s only pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon.
Missy Vail delivered Darin four days beyond her due date — at 10 pounds, 2 ounces. Immediately, numerous Albany Med specialists focused on his care, including pediatric urologists, cardiologists and an obstetrics specialist. Darin was just 2 weeks old when Dr. Devejian successfully performed the first heart operation, reconstructing his aorta and connecting it to the right ventricle to provide blood flow to the lungs.
Later, when Darin developed severe reflux, he was sent back to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Missy Vail marveled at the level of teamwork and organization among all the pediatric specialists, anesthesiologists and nurses.
Three months later, Darin had his second successful surgery, during which a shunt was removed and the large vein, the superior vena cava, was connected to the baby’s lung arteries to increase pulmonary blood flow and oxygen levels.
Darin will need the third heart surgery at a future date. His mother said by looking at him, “you would never know he had a defective heart. We are just extra careful with him.”
The Vails have been thrilled with the care their son has received, and the fact that it is nearby. “I just can’t imagine how we could do all this if we had to go back and forth to Boston, New York or Pittsburgh for Darin’s care,” Missy Vail said. “I am just so thankful that Albany Med is here. It’s our lifeline.”
How To Give
To learn more about being part of Albany Med’s Lifeline campaign and our role as a vital regional resource — a place known for its expertise and chosen for its care — go to www.amc.edu/give, email Development@mail.amc.edu or call 518-262-3322.