Ben and Kyla Avey thought there wasn’t much to their new daughter Abby’s unexplained fussiness. Kyla remembers that “she’d be eating, and then all of a sudden she’d just get mad.” One day after her dad finished feeding her, Kyla noticed something unusual. Kyla looked at Ben and asked, “do her lips look blue?”
That was the moment everything changed. Kyla, a former Sutter nurse, knew there was a pediatric emergency room in downtown Sacramento. Unnerved, Ben and Kyla packed up their family and drove to the ER. Abby was admitted right away and was quickly given x-rays. After careful examination, the attending confirmed the Avey’s worst fears. Abby had coarctation of the aorta and would need open-heart surgery as soon as possible.
Abby crashed in the hospital several times between her arrival in the ER and her surgery less than two days later. If she had been at home or even on her way to the hospital, she would have died. Ben and Kyla were impressed with the care team’s level of communication and dedication. “All of the doctors came in and they all introduced themselves…each one of the doctors went through and told us what their part in the care plan was going to be.” Ben recounts how “there was never a question left unanswered,” and how he believes that “there was no better place for us to be than the Sutter Children’s Center.”
During Abby’s ten-day stay in the hospital, the Avey’s felt Abby and the rest of their family received the highest level of care. Child Life specialists noticed that Abby’s siblings were having a hard time with the visits and would go out of their way to make them more comfortable. Kyla also remembers Abby’s surgeons handing out their personal phone numbers and encouraging her to call anytime.
Since Abby’s surgery, she’s gone from “angry baby” to happy baby. Kyla says that since their experience, “everyday we’re grateful that we have her, and we have Sutter to thank for that.”