Cuban boy doing well after historic heart surgery

Cuban boy doing well after historic heart surgery

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - 3-year-old boy Manuel Hernandez, from Cuba, has been given the gift of love after a complex surgery in Memphis.

It's a surgery that has allowed a mother to see her son running and playing like a normal boy, when she never thought it was possible.

"He runs, he breathe very well," Yaimara Hernandez said.

She said her son is now playing without gasping for air.

It's all thanks to a successful heart surgery at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

Hernandez once suffered from a congenital heart defect. He is now almost fully recovered from his surgery and doing well.

"It is a very complicated, but it has success to help you grow and develop normally," Dr. Chris Knott-Craig said.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Chris Knott and a group of physicians performed the life-saving procedure. Manuel and his family were brought from Cuba to Memphis as part of "the gift of life" program.

"There was only one place to bring this child I thought," Bret Rodriguez of the International Heart Foundation said.

Manuel became the first child from Cuba to have a medical procedure done in the United States since Fidel Castro took office.

"Be able to give this child a second chance at life," Rodriguez said.

Manuel has been recovering in Memphis, and will remain for a couple more weeks before returning to Cuba.

For everyone involved in making this miracle happen, Rodriguez said it was worth it for a small child to have a chance at a long life.

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