Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s Owensboro location treats children with heart defects close to home

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Baylor Rusher was born in March 2021 with several heart defects — double-inlet left ventricle, great vessels transposition and stenosis of the pulmonary artery.

It all started with a routine ultrasound. Chelsea Rusher, who was pregnant with her son, Baylor, was getting a 20-week anatomy scan. During the scan, the provider noticed a complication: It appeared the baby would be born with a heart defect. Chelsea’s family, who lives south of Owensboro, Kentucky, was referred to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist who gave them a choice of two hospitals to entrust with their care. “We picked Norton Children’s Hospital because we had a great experience there with our older son, and we felt at home right away,” she said. Baylor was born at Norton Hospital in March 2021 with several heart defects: a double-inlet left ventricle, great vessels transposition and stenosis of the pulmonary artery. He spent eight days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Baylor has required multiple heart procedures, including cardiac catheterizations, a Blalock-Taussig shunt and a Glenn procedure. He also will need a Fontan procedure. Baylor’s congenital heart conditions require him to have regular follow-up visits with specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, but the family doesn’t always have to make a long drive from Western Kentucky. At Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s outpatient location in Owensboro, pediatric cardiologist Smitha Bullock, M.D., can check in with Baylor and his family in their own community. “We get the same quality of care in Owensboro that we do at the outpatient clinic in Louisville,” Chelsea said.

Norton Children’s Heart Institute

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Baylor’s parents are very appreciative to have follow-up care close to home, instead of having to drive to Louisville for every appointment. “It saves us a lot of time and driving. When we go to Louisville, it takes up an entire day. We have to leave at 7 a.m. and don’t get home until late at night,” Chelsea said. “But when our appointments are in Owensboro, I can take my older kids to school and still go to Baylor’s appointments. It means a lot to our family, and we are so grateful.” Even though Baylor’s medical journey is ongoing, he is in stable condition and is growing well at home, according to his mom. He’s “the happiest little guy” who loves to hang out with his twin siblings and the family dog. Unaware of his heart defect, Baylor prefers spending his days just like any other young toddler: playing with favorite toy trucks and tractors.