An Iranian baby girl who had been denied the entry to the U.S. was admitted Tuesday to a Portland hospital for a life-saving heart surgery needed immediately. State and federal officials came to her aid to make sure she received the boarding documents required to arrive at the U.S.

4-month old Fatemeh Reshad was diagnosed in Iran with a common heart defect present at birth called ventricular septal defect (VSD). It refers to an abnormal connection between the ventricles or lower chambers of the heart. She also had other heart complications like a perforation in the wall between the top two chambers, as detailed by CNN.

Fatemeh Reshad was diagnosed with a common heart defect present at birth called ventricular septal defect. Image credit: ABC 7 Chicago
Fatemeh Reshad was diagnosed with a common heart defect present at birth called ventricular septal defect. Image credit: ABC 7 Chicago

Parents of baby Fatemeh wanted her to receive the best possible care but lacked the resources to treat their daughter in Teheran, Iran. They planned to travel from their home to meet with doctors on February 5 at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, one of the best hospitals for pediatric heart surgery. The family’s grandparents and uncles – all American citizens – have lived in the country for several years, as read in the Huffington Post.

Fatemeh’s chance of survival was brought to a halt by President Trump’s executive order issued last January. Fatemeh and her parents had boarded a flight headed for Dubai when they were steered right back to Iran. Authorities told the family they would have to wait 90 days to apply for a Visa. Relatives did not know if the Fatemeh would make it on time, reported CNN.

Communal effort

Attorneys on behalf of the Reshad family reached out to the U.S. State Department for help and obtained a waiver to navigate the ban. Fatemeh’s family also contacted Senator Jeff Merkley, who along with other congressional Democrats intervened to ask Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, to grant the little girl permission to enter the States.

Many responded to Reshad’s plea to receive medical treatment and took action. Doctors at OHSU Doernbecher announced they would waive their fee to help the baby access the treatment. The hospital assured most of the surgery would be covered. Doctors across the U.S., Canada, and Germany offered their help as well, and the International Refugee Assistance Project arranged the trip for the family, as told by CNN.

Image credit:
Image credit:

“In the 90 years that Doernbecher has been a hospital, we’ve never turned away a child – and we never expect to,” OHSU Doernbecher posted on Twitter.

After the ordeal, baby Fatemeh was admitted into OHSU. Doctors rapidly confirmed her diagnosis and took notice of her critical state. The sooner the heart surgery was performed, the higher chances of avoiding a premature death. The child could not forgo the surgery, said the hospital in a statement.

As suspected, her heart condition resulted in an injury to her lungs, but she reached the hospital in the nick of time, informed OHSU head of the pediatric cardiology division Laurie Armsby.

The newborn started treatment with a cardiac catheterization as she prepares for the surgery. Fatemeh could be back home in Iran in a couple of months, estimated Armsby in her statement.

A ruling from federal appeal judges on the executive order is expected later this week, as many like Fatemeh are trapped in unsafe conditions, as reported by the Huffington Post.

Source: The Huffington Post