Press Release

Aspiring MDs From St. Anthony’s High School Are Reunited With 6-Year-Old Boy They Sponsored for Lifesaving Procedure at St. Francis Hospital

March 22nd, 2017

ROSLYN, NY – First, they raised thousands of dollars to bring him to the U.S. Then, they actually observed the medical procedure that saved him. Now, students from St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington will be reunited with a six-year-old boy from Kosovo who just received a new lease on life.

Erblin Sllamniku suffered from patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA, a congenital heart defect that made him too tired to play like most children his age. But thanks to a minimally invasive procedure to correct his congenital condition, he can now look forward to playing with his three siblings without getting out of breath.

“Just a week ago today, we were able to close the hole in his heart by using a tiny plug threaded to a catheter inserted through a needle hole in his leg,” said Sean Levchuck, MD, chairman of pediatric cardiology at St. Francis, who donated his services. “It not only had a big impact on all of us, but for students from St. Anthony’s, who were able witness the results of their heartfelt efforts firsthand.”

The aspiring medical students raised $5,000 to help bring Erblin to the U.S. in conjunction with the Gift of Life, a humanitarian organization that helps children from around the world get lifesaving cardiac procedures. They were able to observe the minimally invasive procedure through a new collaboration between St. Francis Hospital and St. Anthony’s Medical Education Lab.

“We hope that by seeing these types of medical procedures firsthand, they will be inspired to pursue their dreams of becoming doctors,” sais Levchuck. After suiting up in scrubs and witnessing the wonders of state-of-the art medical technology, the students concur it was a lesson they will never forget.
“At St. Anthony’s we espouse the saying, ‘Capture the Heart and the Mind will follow.’ How great is it that St. Francis Hospital, which is world renowned for its excellent medical and nursing care and known as the Heart Center, is coming together with St. Anthony’s to create this wonderful facility and program for our future health care leaders and providers,” said Brother Gary Cregan, OSF, principal of St. Anthony’s. “We are truly blessed and grateful for this wonderful opportunity for our students.”

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