By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent
Take a look at a newborn's tiny fist. Now imagine the fist is a heart -- they're about the same size -- and a surgeon must operate on it. Patch up holes. Widen vessels the diameter of a cocktail straw. Sew in thin plastic tubing.
By Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield, CNN Medical
She was only 7 weeks old, weighed a mere 10 pounds, and had just had delicate surgery to widen a narrowing in her aorta, the vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. If that wasn't enough, after the surgery, Layla McCarthy stopped moving her legs. The doctors couldn't explain why.
St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, has suspended elective pediatric heart surgeries after a CNN investigation calculated that the program had a mortality rate for open heart surgeries three times higher than the national average.
Katie and Dalton Prager, a young couple who both have cystic fibrosis, celebrated happy news when they reunited Tuesday afternoon after nearly five months apart: Katie is on her way to getting a lifesaving lung transplant.
Despite a promise more than a year and half ago by the National Institutes of Health to retire the vast majority of government research chimpanzees to sanctuaries, hundreds of chimps are still being held for potential medical experimentation, many of them aging and intentionally infected with HIV or hepatitis.
For 10 days following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, two CNN colleagues and I lived in a tent hospital run by Project Medishare. Our hearts ached as we heard the cries of the injured, as we watched surgeons performed amputations without general anesthesia, as people died in front of our eyes.