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Newborn thriving after receiving heart surgery through regional collaborative

Partnership between Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and UVA Children’s brings care closer to home for Virginia’s littlest patients.

Mother and newborn baby smile at each other, while a Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU team member is providing assistance. Montana Powell says her daughter, Genesis, is finishing her bottles and thriving after her recent heart surgery. (Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU)

By Kate Marino and Sara McCloskey

Montana Powell learned when she was 20 weeks pregnant that her baby had a hole in her heart. While this wasn’t Powell’s first child, it was her first time facing the intimidating reality that her newborn would need major heart surgery shortly after birth.  


A recent collaboration between Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and UVA Children’s allowed Powell and her child, Genesis, to stay close to home for care.  




The partnership combines expertise and resources from Charlottesville and Richmond to provide the best pediatric heart surgery, treatment and follow up support networks as close to a family’s home as possible.  


“We don’t want patients to leave the area to have congenital heart surgery. Our results are as good as, if not better than, anywhere in the country and we would prefer to keep these patients at home,” said James Gangemi, M.D.pediatric congenital heart surgeon who does operations at both locations. 

Learn more about the regional collaborative to provide heart surgery for Virginia children.

To provide these services statewide, CHoR partners with UVA Children’s, part of the 20th ranked Virginia Congenital Cardiac Collaborative. Since the partnership began, the team has provided surgical care to 19 babies and children at CHoR, with exceptional outcomes and follow-up care close to home. 


Genesis is one of those success stories.  


“I can sleep so much better knowing that her heart is repaired,” Powell said.  


Genesis was in the hospital for a couple weeks after surgery so her CHoR team could tend to her draining fluid and help her get back to eating. By the time she went home, Genesis was ready to tackle all the hard work of being a healthy, growing baby.  


“She’s rolling over. She’s kicking. She’s babbling,” Powell said. “Before heart surgery she just slept for hours and hours and hours. She struggled to eat, but now she’s finishing her bottles.”