Meet Payton, our Columbus Duck Race Patient Champion!


Heart Warrior: Payton
Age: 13
Heart Condition: ASD, VSD, Pulmonary Valve Stenosis

When Payton was born, she had no known health conditions. During her one-week check-up her pediatrician heard a heart murmur and referred her to Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Heart Center to take a closer look at her heart. There they determined she had a hole in her heart. They put her on medicine and said she would likely have surgery when she was around 6 months old to patch it. Then, a month later at her follow-up appointment, Payton was also diagnosed with Pulmonary Valve Stenosis and unexpectedly needed surgery in the next couple weeks. In January 2012, Payton had her first open heart surgery. After 8 hours of surgery, Dr. McConnell came out to tell us he discovered another hole during surgery and was pleased with how it went. She’d need to stay in the hospital for another 5 days.

Late that night, Payton’s family received a call to come to the hospital right away. Payton went into full cardiac arrest for 90 minutes. Miraculously, she survived. Emergency bedside surgery was performed, and she was placed on ECMO – an oxygenator which acts as a lung to deliver oxygen into a child’s bloodstream. Payton’s family didn’t know if she would make it, and even called in the rest of the family to say goodbye to their beautiful girl. It was a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour wait to see how she was doing. After 45 long, stressful days in the hospital, with multiple medical hurdles to overcome Payton finally got to go home! Her G tube was removed 6 months later.

Today, Payton is a thriving 13-year-old who loves singing and making up songs, and spending time with her family. She loves eating anything sweet – with cake being her favorite treat.

Unless you saw her scars, you would never know by looking at her that she’s already been through so much in her short life.

What does the Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital mean to Payton and her family?
“NCH means the world to our family. It means we get to see Payton meet and exceed milestones, celebrate birthdays, talk, laugh, and even be ornery. NCH taught our family just how short life really is and can change in an instant. It taught us to not take things for granted. NCH means that we must continue to be a voice for all children battling life-threatening diseases. Most of all, NCH means that miracles truly do happen, and there really are angels that walk on earth, as Doctors and Nurses!” —Lindsay, Payton’s Great Aunt.

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