August 7, 2009
Kaden Mendoza has just turned seven. His parents, Deborah and Kevin, gave him a big party. They do it every birthday. “It is another year that he has made it through,” says Deborah.
Kaden has undergone open heart surgery three times, the first when he was nine weeks old. “We didn’t find out about Kaden’s heart condition straight away and we almost lost him,” says his mother.
The fourth chamber of his heart was not visible on the ultrasound scan she had when she was pregnant. They didn’t know it was because it was not fully developed. He was two months old when she took the baby to the doctor because he was not breastfeeding.
“His lungs were full of blood,” she says. That was on 22 September 2002. On the 24th, he was airlifted to San Francisco from their home in Washington for his first heart operation.
Throughout her pregnancy, Deborah Mendoza had been taking the antidepressant Paxil, known in the UK as Seroxat. It had been prescribed by the doctor she had seen when she had a panic attack.