Meet Millie: A Children’s Health Dallas Champion

Meet Millie: A Children’s Health Dallas Champion

During Family Advocacy Day, Millie and her family will discuss her health journey, Children’s Health Dallas’ role in providing her with necessary care, and why we must invest in the future of patients like Millie.

Millie and her parents, Courtney and Aaron, first learned about her Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) at her 18-month well-child visit. Her pediatrician thought that she heard a heart murmur and referred them to a pediatric heart specialist.

An EKG showed that Millie had an eight millimeter hole in her septum wall, between her upper chambers. Her parents had not seen any signs of complications in Millie. “We were shocked and overwhelmed upon hearing this news,” says Courtney. “She didn't have any symptoms and was meeting all of her milestones. Seeing this heart diagram and looking at this playful little human—it was hard to connect the two.”

Millie, a Children's Health Dallas champion, is
participating in Family Advocacy Day 2023.

Her pediatric heart specialist gave her parents guidance on how to monitor her, which allowed them to feel more comfortable letting her run and play like other kids. “Still, each year we were anxious that the hole wasn't closing,” says Courtney.

When the hole in Millie's heart did not close on its own, there were two options presented: open heart surgery or device closure via catheterization. “We were told to be prepared for either option and that the decision would be made the morning of the surgery based on her EKG,” says Courtney.

The team at Children’s Health Dallas was able to close the ASD via catheter. She was in the hospital for 24 hours, back at school by Monday, and playing soccer a week after her procedure.

“In what felt like no time, Millie was back to her normal self, asking when the service dogs would visit,” says Courtney.

Millie has follow-up visits with her pediatric heart specialist once a year and is on track to go back for check-ups every five years. Millie should not need any other procedures since her ASD has completely healed. She lives a full, active life and loves playing basketball. Every year on January 31, the anniversary of her procedure, Millie picks out stuffed animals and brings them to Children's Health Dallas.

Family Advocacy Day

Elevating patient stories and educating lawmakers remains critical to increase awareness about the essential care provided by children's hospitals.