In 2011, Reagan Smith’s Porter Ridge Red Sox won the National Little League Championship. But less than one year later, the third grader was facing a very different challenge as he underwent heart surgery at Levine Children’s Hospital for a congenital heart condition.
In April 2012, just two months after open heart surgery, Reagan stepped up to the pitchers mound ready to play just days after being released from the hospital. And to make the event extra special, his surgeon, Dr. Thomas Maxey with Levine Children’s Hospital, was there to catch the first pitch.
“I suspect he’ll have a full recovery. The chances of needing further heart surgery are about as close to zero as you can get! So that’s great news,” said Thomas Maxey, MD.
“I have to say that the team of people at Levine who were involved through the surgery, the ICU, and all the care he had, definitely progressed his care. He felt their encouragement and knew that they believed in him,” said Sarah Smith, Reagan’s mother.
Reagan’s story is just one extraordinary example of why Levine Children’s Hospital has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as being among the top 50 “Best Children’s Hospitals” in the nation for pediatric care in six specialties. In addition to being recognized in nephrology for the third time, LCH’s cancer, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, gastroenterology, neonatology and orthopedics services were newly recognized in the U.S. News’ 2012-2013 rankings.
Learn more about the US News rankings at carolinashealthcare.org/usnews and watch Reagan’s full story and first pitch here.