November 29, 2021
Born on March 27, 2019, Carlie Evans weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces.
Not only was she battling all of the challenges of a micro-preemie, Carlie was diagnosed with a critical heart defect.
Physicians at the hospital where she was born struggled to help her grow big enough for surgery. They told her father, Delmon Evans, there was nothing else they could do. He called Carlie’s mom, Carrie Hyatt. “That was an awful conversation,” he said. Carrie and Delmon were offered palliative care to let their now 3-month-old daughter die peacefully.
Carrie didn’t want to give up on her daughter. With the help of social media she grabbed the attention of Riley Pediatric Cardiologist Anne Farrell, M.D. In the span of a few days, baby Carlie arrived at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health with a strategy in place to save her life. Carlie didn’t know it, but she was now in a hospital recently ranked #5 for pediatric cardiology and surgery by U.S. News and World Report. Riley Pediatric Heart Surgeon Mark Turrentine, M.D., was confident in his ability to help Carlie, whose heart was only about the size of a strawberry.
Dr. Turrentine is adept at a less invasive technique to access the heart from a baby’s side, and on July 1, 2019, Carlie underwent surgery to repair a narrowed aorta. “Dr. Turrentine was so calm,” said Carrie. “I thought, ‘Buddy, you better show me all this confidence!’” Surgery was a success, and today Carlie’s energy and joy belie the shaky way she came into the world. Her prognosis is so good she sees Dr. Farrell just once a year.
That prognosis speaks to how far Riley has come thanks to donor support. When Dr. Farrell came to Riley in 1999, the hospital likely would not have attempted the surgery Carlie needed on such a small baby. “That confidence has come with improved technology and years of expertise,” said Dr. Farrell. “Being able to give hope to a family that thought they were going to lose their child – that’s what it’s all about.”