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Lamar Co. dad says blood donations are critical for daughter’s heart surgeries

Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 8:30 AM CDT
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LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - What started as a routine pediatrician visit for a two-week-old baby turned into a lifetime of heart surgeries for her. Her father, Lance Sanderford said that two-week-old is now 18-years-old, and blood donations have been just as important in keeping his daughter alive as the heart procedures.

Lance said he can tell you every detail of the day he found out his daughter, Bailey Sanderford, could have died at two weeks old.

“She had a clogged, like a tear duct, and her eye got a little crusty. We took her to the doctor and they always do the standard, put the stethoscope on the chest, Lance said. But this time the doctor said, ‘What’s that? Did you know she had a murmur?’”

Lance said the doctor ran some tests and sent the results to Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital.

“They said you need to get her here to Blair Batson immediately,” Lance said.

Lance said a cardiologist at the children’s hospital gave them grim news.

“He told us that her aortic valve had completely shut off. There was no blood flowing through the aortic valve,” Lance said.

Bailey’s cardiologist told her parents if they would have come to the hospital any later, she would have died.

The doctor diagnosed her with Aortic Stenosis, meaning, the valve in the large blood vessel branching off the heart narrows, keeping the valve from opening fully, reducing blood flow to the body, and making the heart work harder.

This diagnosis was the start of a lifetime of heart surgeries for Bailey.

“The first one they had to fly her to Cleveland Clinic on an ambulatory jet when she was two-weeks-old. The second one was in Cleveland. The third one in the Boston Children’s Hospital and the fourth one was done in Jackson. And the fifth one, which she just had not too long ago, was the artificial valve,” Lance said.

Lance said for every life-saving heart surgery his daughter received, they wouldn’t have been successful without blood during the surgeries.

“Every heart surgery, every time they do surgery on the heart, if they have to take these valves, the heart can’t be pumping blood if they are cutting valves off. They have to bypass the heart and that machine has to be primed and it takes a couple of quarts of blood to do that,” Lance said.

Bailey said she wishes she could thank all the people who have given the blood that she’s received.

“Obviously, I don’t know who the people are and I would like to thank them and say thank you so much for giving me your blood and helping me,” Bailey said.

Both Lance and Bailey said donate blood because you never know, you could be saving a child’s life...like Bailey’s.

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