Forever Connected: This is Tinisha’s Story

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Tinisha with Nurses

Tinisha recently reconnected with nurses from The Heart Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles when they crossed paths at an American Heart Association awareness walk in October. While there, Tinisha was excited to see some of the nurses who cared for her nearly 30 years ago, when she was a patient at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Tinisha was inspired to share her story and dedicate it to the hospital that “fixed her heart,” back in 1984.

My Journey Begins

My journey began when I was 7 years old; I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse and mitral valve regurgitation. When I first walked into Children’s Hospital Los Angeles back in 1984 to receive my mitral valve at age 10, I knew the hospital would take care of me and fix my heart. One of the things that helped me realize the great care Children’s Hospital Los Angeles would provide was the bronze statue of the mother on her back, holding the baby in the air. Every time I saw that statue, I felt at home. Everyone was so kind; the nurses, staff and my cardiologist, Robert Stanton, MD. I felt like nothing could go wrong with my heart because of the high level of care, compassion and that Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was a second home. I say that because I was surrounded by people who wanted to take care of me.

Open Heart Surgery and a Souvenir

One of my fondest memories before my open heart surgery was my conversation with Dr. Stanton and my heart surgeon. They gave me a plastic model of my prosthetic mitral valve and explained everything to me. I was a scared 10-year-old girl and they helped ease my anxiety and I was so touched that they took the time to talk to me. I still have the plastic valve and show it to people to help explain why I make a ticking sound from my chest.

My Connection to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

After my heart surgery, I received care at the hospital until I turned 18. During that time, I received a hospital wristband for my appointments and every time I felt that it renewed my connection to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. To me, the wristband symbolized that we were connected and that I belonged. My experience at the hospital helped form who I am today. I love Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. If I could describe the hospital in three words, it would be: Nurturing, pioneering and child-focused. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles truly does treat kids better.

How You Can Help

Consider making a donation to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and help us create healthier futures, just like Tinisha's. CHLA.org/Donate