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Stephanie Privert

Until June 2010, 15-year-old Stephanie Privert’s life consisted of sharing a tent shelter in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with her parents and seven siblings after their home was destroyed by the January 2010 earthquake. To further complicate matters, Stephanie also was living with a life-threatening heart condition.

Stephanie’s extremely enlarged heart and leaking heart valve caused such fatigue that she hadn’t been able to attend school for the past two years. She was on the verge of irreversible heart damage and a greatly shortened lifespan.

“When Kosair Children’s Hospital was presented with an opportunity to help Stephanie through our partnership with the nonprofit group Healing the Children, we didn’t hesitate to offer assistance,” said Thomas D. Kmetz, president, Kosair Children’s Hospital and Pediatric Services. “We arranged to provide her with a lifesaving open-heart surgery that was unavailable in Haiti.”

Weighing only 75 pounds, Stephanie arrived in Louisville on June 28, 2010, with the clothes on her back and a small handbag. Healing the Children brought Stephanie directly to Kosair Children’s, where she underwent tests that determined she was even more ill than the Haitian doctors had indicated. It was unclear whether she could withstand open-heart surgery.

Five weeks later, on Aug. 3, Stephanie came through a 10-hour open-heart surgery with flying colors. “Stephanie has made a miraculous transformation,” Kmetz said. “She has gained weight, her energy has returned and her heart is healing as expected. She even started school in Louisville about a month after surgery.”

Stephanie is enjoying life in Louisville as a rejuvenated, healthy teenager with a repaired heart. And, in typical teenage form, she’s discovered a love for pizza – her new favorite food!

“This wonderful success story would not have been possible without the great compassion, strong medical expertise and comprehensive care provided by our dedicated pediatric cardiology team led by Erle Austin, M.D., and Chris Johnsrude, M.D.,” Kmetz said. “In all, Stephanie received approximately $200,000 worth of donated care for physician and hospital services.”

Expert cardiovascular services at Kosair Children’s Hospital

Three new pediatric cardiologists were recently added to the Kosair Children’s pediatric cardiology team to further the hospital’s commitment to providing the highest level of care possible to all children with heart conditions.

Brian Holland, M.D., and Mary Jyothi Matta, M.D., joined Pediatric Cardiology Associates with focuses on fetal cardiology and general pediatric cardiology. Ryan Leahy, M.D., also joined the team and focuses on interventional cardiology.

You can help ensure other children get the expert care they need by making a tax-deductible donation to the Children’s Hospital Foundation at

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