LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A little girl's request in the operating room exceeds her expectations. It's also a first for Norton Children's staff who performed surgery not only on the Louisville patient, but her best friend.
Christmas Eve marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship for Addie McDonald and her doll, Gabby.
Addie wears a smile almost always. "She's spunky. That's for sure. She's a trooper. She's been through so much, and you would never know unless we told ya," said Amanda McDonald, Addie's mother.
"Addie is nine years old, and I've been treating her since she was born," says Dr. Erle Austin, Surgeon for Norton Children's Hospital.
Addie has had 12 surgeries.
"Very cute, energetic, engaging little girl," Dr. Austin said.
She was born with a heart condition. "Her heart lacked a valved between the right chamber and the arteries to her lungs," Dr. Austin said.
It was during her most recent surgery two weeks ago, that Addie had a special request. "Her parents did ask if I would perform a procedure on the doll," Dr. Austin said.
Addie's grandparents gave her the idea after watching a national news story. "They [Norton staff] ran with it. We thought they're just going to take the doll, bring it back to us with a little scar, no, no," McDonald said.
After Addie's surgery, it was time for Gabby. "Right after her surgery, they came in and told us, and obviously you're relieved and family members but they're like, 'okay, now Gabby's in surgery.' So, they would come out and show us pictures," McDonald said.
Ann Lorimer and two nurses at Norton Children's did the procedure. "She wanted everything to be the same on her doll," says Lorimer, Surgical Physician Assistant at Norton Children's Hospital.
The team put on an oxygen mask, made an incision and did stitches. "It was cool that he could do it," Addie McDonald said.
Gabby also had oxygen tubes filled with red Kool-Aid. "IVS, those three women ran with it. It was just a neat distraction," Amanda McDonald said.
They went above and beyond. "They're busy people. They're heart doctors and nurses, and I mean, they have so much to do. They seemed really to enjoy it," McDonald said. "It was just awesome. They were just very good to Gabby and Addie."
However, they never hesitated to make a little girl's day. "I don't think there's very many things we would say no to, to one of these little kids that have a request to help them cope with surgery," Lorimer said.
Addie is almost healed without any more open heart surgery expected in her future.
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