Indiana Sakash sits on a couch with a stuffed owl toy
Indiana Sakash went from a tiny infant who struggled to breathe to a smiley, joyful baby after receiving care at MGHfC. Photo courtesy of Lacey Sakash.

In April 2019, Indiana Sakash was born with a 7.5-millimeter ventricular septal defect (VSD) (a hole in her heart), a patent foramen ovale (a hole between the left and right chambers of the heart) and pulmonary valve stenosis (narrowing of the heart's pulmonary valve, which slows blood flow in and out of the heart). At just 3 months old, Indiana underwent open heart surgery to repair all three heart issues. After surgery, she recovered in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC). As the months passed, Indiana flourished from a tiny infant who struggled to breathe and put on weight to a smiley baby who loved to eat, play and giggle around the clock.

In December 2019, Indie, as she is affectionately called by her family, came down with a stubborn cough. Her parents, Lacey and Alex, of Medway, Mass., took her to the pediatrician, who diagnosed Indie with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common, but serious respiratory illness. The routine pediatrician’s visit unexpectedly turned into a nearly week-long stay in the MGHfC PICU.

To the Sakash’s delight and just moments after Indie was admitted, one of the PICU nurses recognized Indie from her previous hospital stay. That sense of familiarity was an immense comfort during such an anxious time.

“All of the PICU nurses are angels in the sky. The level of care that Indie received was outstanding and they deserve the highest of praises,” said Lacey, of Medway, Mass. “When we were admitted to the PICU, the nurses had seen so many RSV cases that they knew exactly what to do. It also helped that they were familiar with Indie from her previous stay after surgery.”

Indie spent just four days in the PICU and one day in a general pediatric unit before going home - but not without an autographed baseball from the Red Sox. “The Red Sox visited while we were in the PICU and Indie played with the baseball the whole time,” said Lacey.

It is hard for any parent to put complete faith and trust in a team of doctors for their child’s medical care, but the Sakash’s never doubted their decision. “You are in the best hands possible. Everything we experienced at MGHfC exceeded our expectations,” said Lacey. “It is a tough job, but you can tell all the doctors and nurses love what they do.”