PERU - Eight-year-old Christopher Goheens was born with serious heart problems, and recently, his health took a turn for the worse.
Christopher, whose story was first featured in the Clinton County Free Trader Today in September 2008, was hospitalized just prior to Christmas with complications related to his condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
According to Christopher's mother, Amy Goheens, Christopher began vomiting blood Dec. 19 and had to be rushed to the hospital.
"He lost over a liter of blood," said Goheens. "The doctors intubated him in Plattsburgh and wanted to bring him to Boston Children's Hospital but couldn't fly him because of the weather."
Christopher was then in the process of being transported via ambulance, but, while en route, his heart rate increased rapidly and he began vomiting more blood, clogging his breathing tube. The ambulance was then redirected to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt., said Goheens, with medical personnel having a difficult time stabilizing Christopher.
"The doctors didn't know if he was going to make it," she said. "It was really touch and go."
Eventually, Christopher was stabilized and admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit where a heart catheterization was performed and he was placed in a medically-induced coma. The next night, doctors were able to clear Christopher for transport to Boston where they performed a computed tomography scan. The scan showed a cloudy area on his left lung, which was believed to be blood.
Christopher underwent extensive further examination, and doctors ultimately found he was bleeding from a tiny group of collateral vessels near his lungs. Because the vessels are so small, doctors are unable to remove them, said Goheens, leading them to take a "wait and see" approach to see if the episode will repeat itself.
"The doctors don't know if this will happen again or, more likely, when this will happen again," said Goheens, who said Christopher has returned home since the ordeal.