UF Health repairs teenager’s heart

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- A heart procedure gave Andy Herrera, 15, another chance at living.

His family traveled to the Cayman Islands before they came to Florida for the operation but it was unsuccessful.

“Those were very difficult moments,” said Karen Reyes, Andy’s mother. “You go in with just a simple open heart surgery which he has had multiple before and to get there and be told that everything went great and then the next day his heart was not holding up—t’s like someone telling you that you are about to lose your son. It was really hard."

UF Health Shands doctors repaired Herrera’s congenital heart defect.

The Dominican Republic native had a hole in his heart and a narrow mitral valve that was repaired.

“To see him progress, it just goes to show you that when we attend to the basics and we care for essentially rehabbing a patient well, the amazing things we can do,” said Joseph Philip, a medical director of the pediatric ICU.

Herrera is now recovering from two years of heart operations. His next treatment is dialysis for his kidneys.

"We are waiting for what they're going to say, but yes we're going to have to look for funds if its necessary,” said Sandy Herrera, Andy’s father. "Because the miracle wouldn't be complete. Andy wouldn't be complete and it wouldn't be really what he fought for, what he has suffered. In a bed for two years almost to keep on being in a bed but this time for something less serious than his heart which would be his kidney."

His parents raised money for his heart surgery and are looking forward to the next steps to take regarding their son's kidneys.