Olivia Rene “Faith” Solis entered the world on February 22, 2018 at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas, TX after what was by all accounts a healthy pregnancy. In the lead up to her arrival, her parents, Miguel Solis and Jacqueline Nortman, dreamed big dreams about what her future would hold. Maybe she would be a doctor or college athlete like her mother, a teacher or public official like her father, or perhaps she would impact the world in her own unique way. These dreams, the same type of dreams that millions of parents have for their children, were quickly threatened by news doctors delivered to Miguel and Jacqueline soon after Olivia’s birth, a congenital heart defect diagnosis, aortic valve stenosis, that would require immediate and invasive procedures before she could leave the hospital.
On day six of her life, Olivia underwent a balloon valvuloplasty procedure. What was supposed to be a routine process took a turn for the worse when her heart went into shock leading to an hour of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. After a highly technical surgical procedure to place her on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) life support led by Dr. Eric Mendeloff was successful, Olivia’s options were narrowed to two open-heart surgery approaches, a high-risk Ross-Konno procedure or a heart transplant. Either approach would require a medical transport to Children’s Medical Center-Dallas, as it is only one of two medical institutions that conduct heart transplants in the state of Texas.
"These dreams, the same type of dreams that millions of parents have for their children, were quickly threatened by news doctors delivered to Miguel and Jacqueline soon after Olivia’s birth, a congenital heart defect diagnosis"
After consultation with Children’s Medical Center Division Director of Pediatric and Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery, Dr. Robert Jaquiss, Jacqueline and Miguel first decided to try the Ross-Konno procedure. Although successful, it soon became clear that Olivia’s heart would not sustain her and so she was left with the final option of a heart transplant. After weeks on life support followed by months in the hospital, dozens of procedures, seizures, strokes, and many other hardships, on May 21, 2018, doctors delivered the news Olivia and her parents had been waiting for, a donor heart had been secured for her and a second open-heart surgery would occur that evening. At 12:07 am the next morning, her three month birthday, Olivia’s new heart beat for the first time and nearly one month later she would leave the hospital for the first time in her nascent life ready to achieve her dreams.
“Olivia’s New Heart” is a collaboration between the Solis family and Dallas based graphic designer Skyler Thiot that provides a “kid-friendly” resource for children and families exploring or having experienced transplantation. Realizing the lack of educational tools in this field while seeking resources to explain Olivia’s situation to other children, the Solis family pledged to help explain the process to others and have made it a goal to place the book in medical institutions that perform pediatric organ transplants across the nation. All proceeds related to the book will be donated to the Heart Center at Children’s Medical Center-Dallas in order to support other families experiencing life in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.