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Israeli family travels to U.S. to get life-saving heart procedure for their baby

Family from Israel travels to U.S. to get life-saving heart procedure for their baby
Family from Israel travels to U.S. to get life-saving heart procedure for their baby 01:52

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- This holiday season a family is celebrating a birthday that doctors said would never happen.

It's a special birthday party with all the trimmings. The 1-year-old baby at the center of it all has had a year like no other.


"Means this year was success," Yair Broyer said. 

Before 1-year-old Nathaniel was born last December, he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. 

The condition cripples the function of one side of his heart. Doctors told Nathaniel's parents there was no chance he'd survive.

"So we say that we will do everything, whatever it takes to, for him to be alive," Henya Grossman, Nathaniel's mother, said. 

The family from Israel traveled to the U.S. for his birth where specialists at NYU Langone knew Nathaniel's life depended on a heart transplant. However, he had to live long enough to wait for a donor.

"We realize that the dangers of using the ventricular assist device in a small child like this are far too great. And so for that reason, we decided to use an innovative approach," said Dr. T.K. Susheel Kumar, surgical director of NYU Langone's Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program.


Instead of an artificial heart machine, doctors used an innovative hybrid technique to boost his blood flow and buy Nathaniel time.

"At the time when we performed the procedure, we could find no other institution across the world that had done it," said Dr. Rakesh Singh, the medical director at NYU Langone Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program. 

When he was 6-months old, Nathaniel received his new heart, which will now grow with him.


"It's amazing," Grossman said. 

And his parents are thankful for the donor family who made it possible.

"They did the bravest decision that they could have in the hardest moment of their life," Grossman said. 

Doctors say heart transplants have become more sophisticated, and now a growing number of babies are surviving. It all depends on finding enough donors.

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