Who are YOU Walking For? The Story of Daniel's Devils
High Point, North Carolina , February 19, 2013
When Elizabeth and Chris Ermis decided they wanted to start a family, they had no idea the challenges their family would soon face.
In April of 2010, Elizabeth gave birth to a beautiful son, whom they named Daniel. Elizabeth had to be induced after reaching 42 weeks gestation. The pediatrician’s preliminary assessment of Daniel post delivery was that he was totally health. It wasn’t until Daniel was receiving his newborn screening panel that the doctor and nurses’ suspicions were raised. Eventually Daniel’s medical team tested the amounts of oxygenated blood in his body via a pulse oximetry device. The normal range for a pulse oximetry test is 90-100. Daniel’s was 63. Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive screening test that helps identify newborns with heart defects and potentially save their lives.
Daniel was eventually diagnosed with Tetraology of Fallot; a complicated critical congenital heart defect that allowed oxygenated and deoxygenated blood to mix in the chambers of his heart. In addition, Daniel’s pulmonary artery was virtually blocked, thus hindering blood flow from his heart to his lungs.
After an extensive stint in the NICU and corrective heart surgeries, Daniel’s health began to rebound from the trauma of his first few months of life.
The North Carolina Chapter of March of Dimes, in conjunction with the American Heart Association (AHA) recently introduced legislation aimed at detecting critical congenital heart defects (CCHD), such as Daniel’s through pulse oximetry screening. If our legislation is passed, it will add this simple test to the state newborn screening panel.
Today, Daniel is a vibrant 3 year old little boy. “He’s perfect. You’d never know by looking at him that he’s a heart patient,” stated Elizabeth. Daniel enjoys playing soccer, baseball and spending time with his 4 month old little sister, Eva.
“The March of Dimes was with us all the way from conception to Daniel’s medical ordeal,” stated Elizabeth. “We are happy to have the March of Dimes be a part of our lives.”
With an upcoming move, the Ermis Family is unsure which walk they’ll participate in this year. But one thing is for sure, Daniel’s Devils, the Ermis March for Babies Family team, is walking to honor Daniel’s resilience and recovery while raising awareness for babies across this state. Who are you walking for?
Pictured: Daniel, a few months old after corrective heart surgery.
Pictured: Daniel, currently a thriving, 3 year old toddler!