Diagnosed at birth with cardiomyopathy, River was only seven days old when he underwent heart surgery at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in August 2015. His heart health later declined, and River returned to Riley in early December 2018.
By February, he was critically ill. Decisive care by River’s medical team helped him survive several crises that required ECMO life support and 158 days on the Berlin Heart. This donor-funded device mechanically supported River’s heart until Riley Pediatric Heart Surgeon Mark Turrentine, M.D., performed a heart transplant on May 29, 2019. Riley’s pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program ranks fifth in the nation (U.S. News & World Report).
According to River’s parents, Zach and Brittany Harbin, Riley also ranks high in personalized care and kindness. “When we say Riley is a part of our family, we mean that - from the parking garage staff to the cleaning staff to the people who delivered his meals, and all the nurses and the doctors,” said Brittany.