Attorney: Iranian family 'is overwhelmingly relieved and thrille - KPTV - FOX 12

Attorney: Iranian family 'is overwhelmingly relieved and thrilled' baby will be treated in U.S.

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Four-month-old Fatemeh (Photo: Sam Taghizadeh) Four-month-old Fatemeh (Photo: Sam Taghizadeh)
OHSU doctors speaking at a press conference Saturday morning. (KPTV) OHSU doctors speaking at a press conference Saturday morning. (KPTV)

A 4-month-old Iranian girl will be traveling to Portland in the next few days to have life-saving heart surgery at OHSU after her family was granted an emergency exception.

On Friday night, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement saying: "This evening we were pleased to learn that the federal government has now granted Fatemeh Reshad and her family boarding documents to come to the United States."

Fatemeh and her family were set to fly to Oregon for a consultation for heart surgery at OHSU when President Trump's executive order on immigration was signed. Her family did all of the paperwork to get travel visas, and her family already living in Oregon said the baby can't afford to wait for the surgery.

In Gov. Cuomo's statement he said the pediatric cardiac surgical team at Mount Sinai Hospital had offered to provide the surgery and medical care at no cost to the family.

Fatemeh's family has decided to come to Portland for treatment at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital, because of the hospital's pediatric cardiology expertise and proximity to the Fatemeh's uncle and grandparents. 

Doernbecher Children's Hospital will cover most of the medical costs.

"We are thrilled with the opportunity to take care of this child from Iran," said Dr. Dana Braner with Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

"The family is overwhelmingly relieved and thrilled that the baby is coming for surgery. I think it's been a real whirlwind for them," said Jennifer Morrissey, the family's attorney.

Fatemeh has a rare form of congenital heart disease that babies in the U.S. get surgery for in their first week of life.

"It has certainly begun to injure her lungs, but what we hope for and what we believe is that those processes are reversible," said Dr. Laurie Armsby at Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

Earlier this week, Fatemeh's story grabbed the attention of Oregon congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici who spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives Friday morning about Fatemeh.

"Keeping 4-month-old babies out of our country does not make us safer,” she said. “It puts her life in danger, and it diminishes the United States in the eyes of the world."

By Friday night, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Ron Wyden, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Congressman Peter DeFazio, Bonamici and Congressman Kurt Schrader sent an urgent letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking him to issue a waiver on the travel ban for the girl. 

"Fatemeh's life is in peril and, if she does not soon have corrective surgeries, she will die," they wrote.

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