Newborn transferred to Tulane for surgery

Published 5:53 am Wednesday, December 11, 2002

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
Valerie Henry was scheduled to return to her job soon after being off for her maternity leave. But, when her baby was born with a faulty heart, her plans changed.
Henry gave birth to her daughter, Jackia Likely, at D.W. McMillan Hospital on Dec. 26. Some hours after the birth, doctors began to notice problems.
It was discovered that Jackia was born with two holes in her heart and that the left side of the heart was not attached to the lung, meaning the baby was losing the oxygen she needed to survive.
Henry, along with the father, Tavorace Likely, left Brewton Wednesday for New Orleans as Jackia was due in surgery on Thursday morning.
According to Henry, a tube would be inserted to connect the heart and the lung. If the surgery is a success, the blood and oxygen should flow between the two organs correctly.
The baby underwent a catheter procedure earlier in the week. A
UPDATE: Baby Likely surgery considered success
A Brewton baby that was transferred to Tulane Hospital is recovering from two surgeries that appear to have been successful.
Jackia Likely underwent surgery on Thursday to place a tube from her heart to her lung. A second surgery was held Monday to repair a hole in the heart.
Valerie Henry gave birth to her daughter at D.W. McMillan Hospital on Dec. 26. She said she was told that the hole in the heart is normal in newborns, but that they typically close. She was told that Jackia's hole only closed halfway and then began to reopen. She said the baby would have to undergo a similar procedure as the one Thursday in six months to one year.
Henry said the baby went through both surgeries well and is recovering. She said she did not know when the baby would get to return to Brewton, but that it would not be before New Year's.
Henry and the father returned home to Brewton Tuesday so he could return to his job at NDI, Inc. She said she calls in every three hours for a report and that they plan to go back on Friday.
She said her new daughter has already been a source of inspiration to her.
Donations for the family are being collected at the American Red Cross. Those wishing to donate by check needs to note on the check that the money is for the family of Jackia was inserted into the baby's leg which then traveled up to the heart to help doctor's determine what was wrong.
Henry said the surgeons may attempt to operate on Jackia's other problems at the same time, but would most likely perform additional operations instead.
If the surgery is a success and the doctors are able to connect the heart and the lungs, Jackia will need additional surgeries throughout her childhood and young adult life.
In the meantime, both parents have been forced to take time off from their jobs to travel to New Orleans to be with their new daughter. Henry has not been able to return to her job at Arby's after taking her maternity leave and Likely will not return to his job at NDI, Inc. until sometime after the baby's surgery.
The couple went to the Department of Human Resources, but there was nothing immediate that could be done through that agency. Donations aimed at helping the couple through this financial hardship are being accepted at the East Escambia County Chapter of the American Red Cross. Director Rogene Martin said any checks written should include a brief description at the bottom of the check of what the donation is for.
The couple are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in New Orleans this week for the surgery. As of press time, the results of the surgery were not available to The Brewton Standard.

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