(CNN)The uncle of an Iranian baby ensnared in President Trump’s travel ban settled on one word Monday to express gratitude to everyone who helped his niece get to the United States for a life-saving heart medical procedure.
“It was a miracle,” Samad Teghizadeh said as Fatemeh Reshad recovered at Oregon Health & Science University’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon.
The 4-month-old underwent surgery to repair a life-threatening heart defect on February 17, nine days after arriving at the hospital. She was in the intensive care unit Monday and was on the mend, doctors said.
Doctors declined to reveal details of the surgery at the family’s request.
“I think Fatemeh’s case is one of generosity and compassion on a great number of individuals,” Jennifer M. Morrisey, a Portland immigration attorney who represents the family said Monday, noting that Fatemeh and her family were granted waivers to travel.
She added: “And I hope that we’ll see other cases of that kind of compassionate concern coming forward in the times to come in the immigration realm,” she said.
Surgery was an ‘all-day affair’
Fatemeh had a “fairly complicated anatomy with a muscular VSD,” Amber Murray, a Washington-based immigration attorney, said earlier referring to a ventricular septal defect.
A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a common heart defect present at birth due to an abnormal connection between the ventricles or lower chambers of the heart, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The infant’s initial diagnosis also indicated that she also had other heart complications, including an atrial septal defect — a “hole” in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart.
Her February 17 surgery was an “all-day affair,” said Dr. Irving Shen, head of the division of pediatric cardiac surgery at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
Armsby added: “The surgery was a little bit more complicated based on the number and nature of the holes in her heart.”
Thanks to ‘Uncle Sam’
Dr. Dana Braner, chief physician at the hospital, said he couldn’t say how long Fetemeh’s recovery would take because every case is different.
He called Teghizadeh “Uncle Sam,” and thanked him for helping to set up the trip.
Teghizadeh said the kindness of others surprised him — and Fatemeh’s family.
“In the beginning, I didn’t have any hope,” he said.
Teghizadeh, an American citizen, lives in Portland with his parents — Fatemeh’s grandparents — who also are US citizens. He said he proud to be a citizen.
He said he struggled to find the right words to express his gratitude because English is not his frist language.
Teghizadeh rattled a list of thank you’s, including to Merkley, who he said called him twice, and lawmakers who wrote the letter to Tillerson.
He called the hospital staff “fantastic.” He thanked his fellow Oregonians and called the state amazing.
“And I’m going to stay here forever,” he said of Oregon.
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