The Heart Program at Miami Children's Hospital celebrated its 4,000th open-heart surgery Thursday with a party that reunited open-heart patients with the doctors and nurses who treated them.
Lily Fernandez's daughter Daniela became the hospital's 4,000th open heart surgery patient since 1995 recently.
"It's just a miracle that all this can happen so quickly and be repaired and on her way with her own tissue, nothing foreign in her heart," Lily Fernandez said. "We're very thankful."
"Yeah, she looks great right after the surgery you can tell she was pinker," father George Fernandez said. "It was clear that the holes in the heart were sewed up and she'll be able to live a relatively normal life after."
Daniela was born with a heart defect, and her surgery marked a milestone surgery for the hospital's Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.
Although MCH became the first facility in Florida to perform pediatric open-heart surgery in the 1950s, it was in 1995 when top-performing cardiac surgeons joined the hospital to oversee new services, like the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.
On Thursday, the hospital threw a party and brought back their first open-heart surgery patient.
"Honestly, I owe it all to him and to the hospital for being here for me too," said Miguel Solar.
Solar, now 18, was born with one of the more common heart defects called tehtrilogy-aflow and Dr. Redmond Burke was one for the doctors who saved his life.
"17 years ago we first touched Miguel's heart and we've touched 4,000 hearts since then and all those kids are out there right now with their parents and their friends and families and I think over time as they live their lives will basically have touched almost everybody in the world," Dr. Burke said.
"I thank God that he did it, that he did my surgery, because now I wouldn't be living, I wouldn't be able to do the things I'm doing," Solar said. "It's really really cool, I feel like a super star but he should feel better since he has the magic hands."