‘Miracle’ Otis born with rare heart condition given chance at life

‘Miracle’ Otis born with rare heart condition given chance at life

Baby Otis Reeves has a cheeky smile, but it’s the scar on his chest that marks him out as a Mater little miracle.

The eight-month-old owes his life to the specialist maternal fetal medicine team at Mater Mother’s Hospital who diagnosed a rare combination of four defects in his tiny heart – while he was still in his mother’s womb.

It was during a 20-week pregnancy scan at the Mater Centre for Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM), at South Brisbane’s Mater Mothers’ Hospital, that expert sonographers detected Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital defect that disrupts blood flow through the heart.

Parents Emily Dennis, 23, and Ollie Reeves, 26, said Otis is recovering well after undergoing open heart surgery to correct his heart problem. 

“The Maternal Fetal Medicine team at Mater were so supportive of us as young parents,” Emily, of Riverview, Ipswich, said.

“We will be forever grateful for their expertise. Left untreated, I’d hate to think what would have happened to Otis.

“To see Otis happy and smiling brings me so much joy.”

Emily is urging Queenslanders to dig deep this Saturday (6 April) when the Nine Telethon will be raising money to help Mater Little Miracles like Otis and the nearly 2000 other babies who pass through Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit each year.

Mater Mothers’ is Australia’s leading centre for fetal echocardiography and the team performs 300 fetal echocardiograms each year. They closely monitored Otis’s condition throughout Emily's pregnancy.

Otis was born at Mater Mothers’ Hospital on 9 August, weighing 3.1kg, and within seconds was transferred to the Neonatal Critical Care Unit for observation.

Emily said she was “stressed and scared” about what was going to happen to Otis when he was born.

“If you looked at Otis, you would never have known there was something so wrong with his little heart,” she said.

“We knew he needed an operation within the first year of his life and doctors discussed everything with us – we were prepared for the worst.”

Otis’s heart surgery was performed at Queensland Children’s Hospital last month and now Otis has the chance to enjoy life like other babies his age.

“Otis had open heart surgery and a lung bypass. Seeing him after surgery was scary, he had lots of tubes, wires and ventilators – I burst into tears when I saw him,” Emily said.

“But now I look at him, and I know he’s got a long road ahead, but he will be able to do what most little boys do at his age – get up to mischief!”

Mater Director of Neonatology Dr Pita Birch said Otis was one of 165 babies admitted to the Neonatal Critical Care Unit with cardiac issues last year.

“We’re thrilled to see Otis doing well – he’s a real little battler,” Dr Birch said.

“The Nine Telethon will enable Mater to purchase life-saving equipment and invest in world-leading research so we can continue to give the tiniest Queenslanders the best possible start in life.”

To make a donation visit, www.9telethon.com.au



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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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