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Peace Amidst Challenges: Adriel’s Heart Center Journey

When you ask Adriel Hernandez’s family what makes him special, they mention his cheesy smile, his strong-willed personality, and the fact that he resembles his late grandpa.

Adriel Hernandez’s family
Adriel Hernandez’s family

“When I found out about Adriel’s diagnosis, I was never scared or worried. There was just this peace over me,” recalled his mom, Glenda.

Adriel was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome after doctors detected abnormalities at Glenda’s 24-week ultrasound. Despite the unknowns of an underdeveloped heart, Glenda knew where her son would be treated – Riley Children’s Health – and she had complete faith in their expertise. Her older daughter, Natalie, has been monitored by Riley Children’s cardiology team since placement of a heart stent in 2014. Natalie’s cardiologist, John J. Parent, MD, agreed to take on Adriel’s case as well.

On January 4, 2021, Adriel was born at Methodist Hospital and immediately transferred to Riley. (The Riley Maternity Tower, where mothers and babies can stay together for comprehensive care, opened in September 2021.) He underwent his first heart surgery at 7 days old and stayed at Riley for four weeks to recover. When the family went home to Nappanee, they were able to keep in direct contact with Riley experts thanks to the donor-funded Heart Center Home Monitoring Program.

Adriel’s Heart Center Journey
Adriel was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome

Children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome typically undergo a series of three surgeries, and the highest risk is the time between surgeries. Through the Heart Center Home Monitoring Program, families can call, text, or video chat directly with Dana Hartman, NP, to talk through any concerns once they head home following the first surgery. The program is available with an app and provides families with easy-to-access tracking tools, a baby scale, a pulse oximeter, and access to Dana.

“Dana is a gift from God,” Glenda shared about her family’s experience in the program. “Having a heart baby, you don’t know which way it’s going to go. The first few months were very scary. Having Dana there was amazing.”

Peace Amidst Challenges
Adriel was born at Methodist Hospital and immediately transferred to Riley

It has been nearly a year since Adriel graduated from the program. He is working on regaining his energy after his second heart surgery, and he goes back to Riley for appointments every three months. “Adriel couldn’t be in better hands,” Glenda said.

Adriel's second birthday
Adriel's second birthday