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Dr. Hrair Garabedian: Lifesaver

Thirty five years ago today, my nephew Ian was born in Spokane. Right away, doctors knew something was wrong because he looked blue/black. A valve to his heart had not opened properly. Surgery wasn't an option. He was given the last rites.

Many in the family remember it was the only time anyone saw my father cry.

A pediatric heart specialist, Dr. Hrair Garabedian, was called in. He told the family that a drug that had been tried only on adults with this condition would be a long shot, but he wanted to try it. The medication worked. Ian lived to celebrate 35 years of life.

I saw Dr. Garabedian in 2008 when he received the Peter Claver Award, a high honor from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. I thanked him for saving my nephew's life. He told me he actually remembered Ian, and he especially remembered my dad — a big, strong patriarch — crying in the waiting room, thinking all was lost with his newborn grandson.

Happy Birthday, Ian. And thanks again, Dr.Garabedian.

(Family photo of Ian as a toddler)

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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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