Iranian baby previously banned from US to receive treatment soon

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The 4-month-old Iranian girl who was barred by the Trump administration's travel ban from entering the United States to receive life-saving surgery will receive treatment months later than normal for her complex congenital heart defect, her doctors explained on Saturday.

Two in 10,000 newborns suffer from the condition, the doctors said. In the United States, where doctors have successfully treated this condition since the 1980s, physicians would have operated on a child suffering from this health issue within a few days to a week of birth.

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International travelers are greeted as they arrive at John F. Kennedy international airport in New York City, U.S., February 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology student Kiki Rahmati, from Iran, cries as lead attorney Susan Church greets her at Logan International Airport in Boston on Feb. 3, 2017. She was initially not allowed to enter the US after President Donald Trump's travel ban.

(Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

A relative of Fuad Sharef, an Iraqi with an immigration visa who was prevented with his family from boarding a flight to New York a week ago, hugs his daughter goodbye in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq February 4, 2017, before going to the airport to fly, on Turkish Airlines, to Nashville, Tennessee, their new home.

(REUTERS/Ahmed Saad)

Behnam Partopour, a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) student from Iran, is greeted by friends at Logan Airport after he cleared U.S. customs and immigration on an F1 student visa in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. February 3, 2017. Partopour was originally turned away from a flight to the U.S. following U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Fuad Sharef, an Iraqi with an immigration visa who was prevented with his family from boarding a flight to New York a week ago, kisses his relatives goodbye at his home in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq February 4, 2017, before going to the airport to fly, on Turkish Airlines, to Nashville, Tennessee, his new home.

(REUTERS/Ahmed Saad)

Fuad Sharef, an Iraqi with an immigration visa who was prevented with his family from boarding a flight to New York a week ago, hug his relatives goodbye at Erbil International Airport, Iraq February 4, 2017, to fly, on Turkish Airlines, to Nashville, Tennessee, their new home.

(REUTERS/Ahmed Saad)

Behnam Partopour, a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) student from Iran, is greeted by his sister Bahar (L) at Logan Airport after he cleared U.S. customs and immigration on an F1 student visa in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. February 3, 2017. Partopour was originally turned away from a flight to the U.S. following U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Samira Asgari is greeted by a friend after she cleared U.S. customs and immigration in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. February 3, 2017. Asgari is an Iranian scientist who had obtained a visa to conduct research at Brigham and Women's Hospital and was twice prevented from entering the United States under President Trump's executive order travel ban.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Banah Alhanfy, from Ira, is hugged and handed a rose after arriving at Logan International Airport in Boston on Feb. 3, 2017. Banah was initially not allowed to enter the US after President Donald Trump's travel ban.

(Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology student Kiki Rahmati, from Iran, hugs someone that met her at Logan International Airport in Boston on Feb. 3, 2017. She was initially not allowed to enter the US after President Donald Trump's travel ban.

(Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Dr. Muhamad Alhaj Moustafa, a Syrian citizen, embraces his wife Nabil Alhaffar, also a Syrian citizen, after she returned from a trip to Doha but was denied re-entry in January, at the international arrivals hall at Washington Dulles International Airport February 6, 2017 in Dulles, Virginia. A US appeals court has rejected a government request to immediately reinstate US President Donald Trump's controversial immigration ban -- the latest twist in what could be a long, high-stakes legal battle.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Salwa Tabiedi greets her son Hussamedin Agabani, a Sudanese citizen who was arriving in the United States for the first time, at the international arrivals hall at Washington Dulles International Airport February 6, 2017 in Dulles, Virginia.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Nazanin Zinouri, an Iranian engineer, is received by supporters at the Greenville Spartanburg Airport February 6, 2017 in Greenville, South Carolina. Zinouri, a Clemson graduate, works for a technology firm in Greenville, South Carolina and has lived in the United States for the last seven years. While attempting to return to South Carolina after a recent trip visiting family in Iran, she had been taken off her flight in Dubai as a result of the recent travel and immigration ban ordered by President Donald Trump.

(Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Shanez Tabarsi (L) is greeted by her daughter Negin after traveling to the U.S. from Iran following a federal court's temporary stay of U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. February 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Ali Alghazali, 13, a Yemeni who was previously prevented from boarding a plane to the U.S. following U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order on travel ban, hugs his uncle Saleh Alghazali, upon Ali's arrival at Terminal 4 at JFK airport in Queens, New York City, New York, U.S. February 5, 2017.

(REUTERS/Joe Penney)

Najmia Abdishakur (R), a Somali national who was delayed entry to the U.S. because of the recent travel ban, is greeted by her mother Zahra Warsma (L) at Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia, U.S. February 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Mustafa Aidid (center R), a Somali national who was delayed entry into the U.S. because of the recent travel ban, is reunited with his brother Taha Aidid (center L) at Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia, U.S. February 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Ammar Aquel Mohammed Aziz (R), hugs his father Aquel (2nd R), as his brother Tareq (L) hugs his uncle Jamil Assa (2nd L) after the brothers arrived from Yemen at Dulles International airport on February 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. The brothers were prohibited from entering the U.S. a week ago due to tightened immigration policies established by the Trump administration, but were able to travel freely this week following a court injunction halting the implementation of the immigration policy.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Related: Iranian Baby Needing Surgery Gets Documents to Come to U.S.: NY Gov

The girl, Fatemeh Reshad, was slated to arrive in Oregon — where her grandparents and uncle, all American citizens, live — to receive the surgery that would fix her fatal heart defect. But because of the travel ban, the baby and her mother were prevented from boarding the flight that would have brought them to the United States.

When President Donald Trump signed the applicable executive order Jan. 27, it barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations — including Fatemah's native Iran — from entering the country for 90 days. The president said the order was intended protect Americans from the dangers of terrorism.

Fatemah gained special permissions from the Department of Homeland Security on Friday, according to Jennifer Morrissey, one of the attorneys working pro bono on the family's behalf. Along with a group of attorneys and a number of New York and Oregon lawmakers, Morrissey worked to find her a path to the United States despite the travel ban.

With their help, Fatemah can now come to the United States to receive the life-saving care she needs.

The Oregon Health and Science University's Doernbecher Children's Hospital physician-in-chief Dana Braner, head of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Dr. Irving Shen, and Interim Head of Pediatric Cardiology Laurie Armsby answered questions related to the child's health issues, procedure and risks. The family's lawyer provided details relevant to her case.

"The family has been warned that there is an urgency to this care," said Armsby, whose hospital addresses six to 10 of these operations a year. "I feel for them that they've been put through a tremendous strain as any delay might affect their child."

Typically a baby who had undergone this procedure would be discharged in only a few weeks, but Fatemah faces a longer recovery phase because her heart defect is being addressed later than usual. The doctors hope that she will be able to go home in a few months, and they are working with her doctors in Iran to build up follow-up care practices.

The doctors said that while the defect is uncommon, the risk of the procedure is not high. From when the baby enters the operating room to his/her exit, the surgery takes about five or six hours while the actual repairs itself takes about 90 minutes.

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A young girl dances with an American flag in baggage claim while women pray behind her during a protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
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LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Protesters march during a demonstration against the immigration ban that was imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Thousands of protesters gathered outside of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport to denounce the travel ban imposed by President Trump. Protests are taking place at airports across the country. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Protesters gather at the international arrivals area of the Washington Dulles International Airport on January 29, 2017, in Sterling, Virginia. US President Donald Trump issued an executive order yesterday barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days and suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days. / AFP / Thomas WATKINS (Photo credit should read THOMAS WATKINS/AFP/Getty Images)
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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 29: A police officer stands guard as demonstrators at Philadelphia International Airport protest against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
Thousands turn out for a January 29th, 2017 Immigration Ban Protest at Philadelphia International Airport, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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"We anticipate a good result, a surgery that will provide her a very active and full life," Armsby said.

The family has received an outpouring of support since their case was well-publicized by lawmakers. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo dedicated his attention and efforts to gain the family special permissions past Trump's travel ban. Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici took to the House floor on Friday morning to share the story of the young girl.

The hospital and immigration organizations are doing whatever they can to lessen the family's load.

Related: Over 100,000 Visas Have Been Revoked by Immigration Ban, Justice Dept. Reveals

The International Refugee Assistance Program is helping organize the family's travel, the physicians working with Reshad have agreed to waive their fees and the hospital is attempting to keep the cost of the operation as low as possible.

"We do not think the family will have significant burden for this care," said Braner.

Morrissey said they are overwhelmingly relieved and thrilled that Reshad will be able to come to the United States for the necessary surgery.

"I think it's the clearest illustration of why the travel ban was poorly thought out, poorly implemented and had significant humanitarian consequences," Morrissey said of the Reshad family's experience.

On Friday, a federal judge in Seattle temporarily blocked the travel ban. The judge's ruling is applicable nationwide and Homeland Security officials are no longer enforcing the ban at airports. The White House said it will seek an emergency stay against the judge's order as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, the family is expected to arrive in the United States in the next few days for the lifesaving procedure.

"For 90 years, Doernbecher Children's Hospital has believed that every child is amazing, every child deserves the best care, every child adds something that hasn't been added before," Braner said.

"We are thrilled to take care of this child from Iran," he added.

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