Parker’s Story

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Parker Allen was born on September 2, 2006, with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a congenital defect in which the left side of the heart is underdeveloped. The condition is usually fatal within the first days or months of the child’s life unless detected and treated. HLHS is not correctable but can be treated either with a series of operations, or a heart transplant.

When Parker was just 5 days old, he underwent the first operation in a series of three, known as the Norwood Procedure. This procedure allows the right ventricle to pump blood to both the lungs and to the body, keeping the child healthy until old enough for the follow up surgeries. Complications from this surgery resulted in a paralyzed vocal cord, which later impaired his ability to speak. At six months, Parker underwent the second surgery, the Glen Procedure.

In January of 2008, at nearly 17 months old, Parker went into congestive heart failure (CHF) and suffered a severe stroke. The stroke resulted in massive damage to the left side of his brain and severe paralysis in the right side of his body. Parker would remain in the hospital for the next seven months. He would eventually receive a heart transplant in June from an 8 month old donor in California, a “gift of life” Parker’s family is very grateful for.

On July 25th, with the help of Intermountain Homecare, Parker was able to go home. Without the help of the oxygen system provided by Homecare, and the dedicated staff of pharmacists and pharmacy techs, says Sheila, “it would have been impossible for us to come home as soon as we did.”

Overcoming odds many thought were impossible, Parker is now a happy and playful little boy, and his Homecare physical therapy enabled his rehabilitation to progress much faster than anyone anticipated. “We were told by his doctors he probably wouldn’t walk before he was five,” says Sheila. Yet at just two and a half, Parker is able to take several steps unassisted, and with his mom holding his hand can walk as far as he wishes. As a result of his speech therapy Parker is learning to speak in full sentences, using signs to indicate words he does not yet know. Sheila credits much of Parker’s progress to the Intermountain Homecare team who has been with him from the very beginning. “They have become like family to us,” she says. “I can’t imagine what we would do without them.”