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Healthwatch 16: Family finds heart help close to home

The family of a little girl from Washingtonville born with heart defects is happy to have a Geisinger hospital less than ten minutes away.

DANVILLE, Pa. — Harley Beagle, age 7, enjoys playing with her sister Brianna.

"I like to play, and I also like to color."

But life wasn't always carefree for the first-grader from Washingtonville. Harley was born with transposition of the great vessels. Her aorta and pulmonary arteries were swapped.

"All of her red blood that should have been going to her body was going to her lungs, and her blue blood that should have been going to her lungs was going to her body,"  Caylie Beagle said.

"In addition, to make things complex, she had multiple holes between the two bottom chambers of her heart which made the surgical process more complex for her," said Dr. Avnit Gulten, a Geisinger pediatric cardiologist.

Harley had her first open-heart surgery at six days old and several more after that.

"She was on oxygen. She has a pacemaker, and it was a really crazy first two years," Caylie said.

Harley has had all of her care at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville. Her family says Dr. Avnit Gulten has been instrumental in helping them through everything.

"She was always just a phone call away," Caylie said. "It didn't matter what time of day it was, how busy her schedule was. If I called and said I have a concern, it was, 'Bring her right in,' and she squeezed us in wherever it was possible."

"You become a part of their family, and I think that is what makes this journey so close to heart," Dr. Gulten said.

Harley's prognosis is great now. She feels comfortable at Geisinger and looks forward to seeing Dr. Gulten and her nurses.

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