WASHINGTON — In a month when people’s thoughts turn to matters of the heart, the Veale family of Washington is raising awareness that the heart matters every day.
Feb. 7-14 was declared Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) Awareness Week in many cities and states, including Washington and Indiana.
In conjunction with that recognition, Bryan and Jessica Veale created and distributed fliers to create awareness of this heart condition that’s present at birth. They also appeared on a local radio show to discuss the issue.
CHDs are a matter close to the Veales’ hearts because their 2 1/2 -year-old son, Eli, is affected.
“When he was born we thought everything was fine,” Jessica said.”We didn’t have any indications.”
When Eli was born, a simple, noninvasive pulse oximetry newborn screening, which can detect critical congenital heart defects, was not a required procedure.
As of Jan. 1, 2012, that changed and the procedure is now required at all birthing facilities in Indiana.
“Had it been done, his defects would’ve been caught earlier,” Jessica said, quickly adding there was no negligence on the part of doctors or the medical facility where he was born.
“I’m a nurse. I didn’t see any reason to do one, either.”
Once Eli went home, Bryan and Jessica began to notice a lot of odd little symptoms that didn’t raise any red flags individually. However, when they jotted them down prior to his two-month visit with Dr. Amy Campbell, they realized there were a lot of them.
Jessica said Eli vomited a lot, his stools were different, and he slept a lot more than his older brother Zachary, now 5 years old.
“The day before his two-month appointment, he wouldn’t eat,” Jessica said. “When they weighed him he was 7 ounces below his birth weight.”
Initially he’d been gaining, she said, then lost all that weight and then some in the month between his one- and two-month doctor appointments.