Care comes from the heart at Masonic Children's Hospital

Imagine the tiniest of babies born with a heart condition.

Taking care of those patients and their challenging conditions is one of the strengths at Masonic Children’s Hospital.

The patients there are often tiny newborns with very concerned and often scared parents.

2-year-old Rian and her family learned, however, that treating the patient is just one part of the process at U of M Children’s Hospital.

Little Rian today is a far cry from the 2-pound baby born almost three months early. Back then, her life was in the hands of medical experts.

Rian’s parents, Max and Kirsten, are thankful their little life began at the Minneapolis hospital.

“They pulled her out and they said, 2 pounds, 1 ounce and my heart sunk and the anesthesiologist immediately said, ‘She’s 2 pounds, she’s going to be great,’” said Max Krauth, Rian’s dad. “And it immediately changed my attitude. It went from panic to real confidence. They were like from the word go, she’s incredible, she’s great, she’s feisty and that’s the word that’s been used from then until today.”

Rian’s premature arrival into this world meant 92 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at Masonic Children’s.

Among her challenges, she had a hole in her tiny heart that needed surgical repair. Her parents leaning on the doctors, nurses and staff that cares for infants like her.

“You can’t grow up without a functioning heart and not all of us are born with the best heart and the best heart condition,” said Nick Hocum, a nurse manager in the cardiovascular intensive care unit. “So, we do what we can to help those patients and their families to give that child the best possible life that they can.”

Hocum says medical care is changing as evidenced by the philosophy at Masonic Children’s where efforts there are not just focused on patients, but also on family.

It’s something Rian’s parents Kirsten and Max say made the long days and nights bearable.

“I was scared, very scared,” said Kirsten. “I just had a lot of questions and I wondered why, why did this happen? But yet I was thankful that she was OK and that we were here. They made us feel at ease and they made us comfortable and we had great confidence that things were going to be OK.”