Dear parent of a son born with transposition of the great arteries,

My son Turner was born on February 16, 2005 and, six days later, he endured his first of three open heart surgeries at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. We were aware early on in the pregnancy that our son had some heart abnormalities, but the morning he was born in Knoxville, TN, we found out that they were a bit more serious than we first thought. Just hours after Turner was born, we were told he needed to be flown to Children's National to be turned over to the care of Richard Jonas, MD. Needless to say, we were instantly filled with fear and helplessness and had no idea what the future held in store for us. We had to let our son go without us as we tried desperately to follow him as quickly as possible. 

We arrived in Washington, DC, in the late evening and waited in fear in a lobby still not able to see our son. We finally saw Turner and were pleased to see that he was in good hands. The nurses and doctors were very attentive to our son and ready to answer any questions that we had. We got to meet Dr. Jonas, who was Turner's surgeon, and he explained every step of the procedure and he expressed great confidence in our son's recovery. We had a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse named Susan who took special care of not only Turner, but us as well. We refused to leave our son for any reason and Susan, on her day off, would bring us food and anything she thought would make us feel more at home. 

It was little things like this that kept us going because we knew that our son was in caring hands. These people weren't just coming to work, they had a passion for making our son healthy. Turner made three trips in a 18 month period to see Dr. Jonas and still, to this day, the doctors that we see at home in Tennessee speak of what a wonderful job Dr. Jonas did on our son's heart. I can't tell anyone that these trips to Washington, DC, were easy because they were not. Those days were the most difficult days of my life. I have no doubt that because of the amazing work that Dr. Jonas and all the doctors and nurses at Children's National did, I have a extremely happy and healthy almost 7-year-old little boy. Turner warms the hearts of all those around him, and I always tell him "you are such a good kid, they must have put an extra heart inside your chest while they were in there." For those of you who are in the situation, we were in just seven short years ago, have faith in God. We did and He sent us Dr. Richard Jonas. Thank you, Dr. Jonas.


Matthew, Bridget, Brittany, and Turner Jones, Knoxville, TN

The Jones family
The Jones family


Video: Transposition of the Great Arteries, A Parent's Story

Cardiovascular (heart) conditions and diseases - Letters