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A Healing Heart

Riva Pomerantz

When he was three-months old, Alter Mordechai Morel was diagnosed with severe congestive heart defects. Two transplants and many challenging years later, his mother Joyce shares their story. Her message? No matter what, you can overcome.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

heart balloonThe rosy beginnings of Mordechai’s life began to fade at the three-month mark when the pediatrician was unhappy that he wasn’t gaining weight. At a thorough four-month examination, the doctor detected a heart murmur.

“He didn’t tell us Mordechai had a murmur,” Joyce remembers. “He just sent us to do a chest X-ray. This was on a Thursday night. I was completely numb, overwhelmed, in shock; it was so sudden.” The X-ray showed an abnormality in Mordechai’s heart, and the presence of fluid in his tiny lungs.

The next day, Joyce and her husband, Avraham, found themselves atToronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, booked for an ultrasound, an echocardiogram, and finally, an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist. “While they were doing the ultrasound, the technician kept going over his chest, again and again. We could see that she was concerned. We started to think that he had a hole in his heart.”

Congenital heart defects are fixable, and in many instances, self-repair over time, the Morels comforted themselves. Holding on to a thin strand of optimism, they sat across from the doctor on that fateful Friday morning, hoping for the best.

“You have a sick child,” the doctor intoned, opting for the honest, if brutal, approach. “And no matter what we do, we’re never going to be able to fix him.”

They then heard the diagnosis: Little Mordechai had a variation of hypoplastic left heart. Instead of four chambers, his heart had three.

Their lives would never be the same again.


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