A four-month-old Iranian girl with a rare heart condition who was affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban is “out of the woods” and making good progress after life-saving surgery, doctors have said.
Fatemeh Reshad and her parents’ plans to enter the US with a travel visa for her surgery were cancelled last month after Mr Trump issued his executive order on immigration and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran.
The girl and her parents arrived in Portland, Oregon, the home of some of their relatives, a few days later after being granted a waiver the same day the ban was temporarily blocked by a federal judge.
Doctors at Oregon Health Sciences University’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital have expertise in Fatemeh’s condition.
She underwent surgery on February 17, a procedure her physicians say was more complicated given that it is typically performed within days or weeks, rather than months, after birth.
The family’s delayed arrival to the US would not have necessarily been enough time to affect her condition, the girl’s doctors said during a news conference.
“Her heart function looks beautiful,” said Dr Laurie Armsby, associate professor and interim head of the hospital’s Division of Paediatric Cardiology.
“We’re really pleased with how the surgery went and have a very strong sense at this point that she’s going to recover fully and go on to lead a happy and healthy life.”
Fatemeh underwent a series of diagnostic studies since being admitted to the hospital on February 7 in preparation for her surgery. She remains in intensive care and it is unclear how long her recovery will take.
The physicians declined to give further details of the girl’s procedure and current condition, at the request of her parents.
Previous statements by hospital officials estimated a five to six-hour surgical procedure performed by Irving Shen, a nationally respected expert on Fatemeh’s condition, and pegged her post-surgery stay at three weeks.
Fatemeh’s uncle, Samad Taghizadeh, a US citizen who lives in Portland, stood alongside the girl’s doctors, thanking senator Jeff Merkley, New York governor Andrew Cuomo and immigration lawyers for being instrumental in getting the waiver.
“In the beginning, I didn’t have any hope for my family coming here,” he said. “But I tried, and I was surprised how the people in the US have helped.”