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Two Young Girls Receive the Gift of Life at St. Francis Hospital

 | Published on 3/1/2017

Five-year-old Erina Terstena and eight-year-old Bledina Qunaku suffered from Patent Ductus Arteriosus or PDA, a congenital heart defect that made them too tired to play like other girls their age. Thanks to a minimally invasive procedure to correct their congenital conditions the two girls now look forward to playing without getting short of breath.


Early in the morning on Wednesday, February 1st, the two girls were admitted to St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York for their lifesaving procedure. “Using a tiny plug threaded to a catheter that is inserted through a tiny hole in the girls’ legs, we were able to close the holes in their hearts,” says Sean Levchuck, M.D., Chairman of Pediatric Cardiology at St. Francis, who donates his services to help children suffering from treatable heart defects. The girls were discharged the next day without experiencing any pain and with only a small band aid to remind them of their surgery.


The children’s lifesaving trip to the United States was sponsored by The Gift of Life, Inc. The girls and their families are staying at Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, where they love to watch the movie Frozen.

Pictured above is eight-year-old Bledina smiling from her hospital bed as she recovers from the lifesaving procedure that closed the hole in her heart.

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