McHenry 'miracle baby' inspires 'Grey's Anatomy' episode

April 25, 2013 (CHICAGO)

"They have to take the baby right away," Pat McDonagh, father, said. "That was a long day."

In 2003, the McDonaghs of McHenry, Ill., had been told their son would be born with two serious heart defects. One of them could have killed him minutes after he was born; he was missing a critical hole in his heart.

"He was so sick when he came out. He was gray and pale and had very labored breathing," Dr. Alex Javois, Advocate Children's Hospital, said.

Dozens of doctors and staff assembled at Advocate Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn to deliver the boy in the Heart Catheterization Lab so as not a moment would be lost. Ian needed a hole.

"That hole allowed his bright red blood full of oxygen to come out of his lungs and to mix with the rest of the blood in his body," Dr. Javois said.

It worked. Today Ian is nine, and his story inspired a storyline on Grey's Anatomy.

"I always knew he was going to make it. I just always knew. I never had a doubt in my mind," Nannette McDonagh, mother, said.

"He's gone from a miracle baby to a miraculous young boy," Dr. Javois said.

Nannette will watch the Grey's Anatomy episode, but Pat says it may be too much.

"I'll probably let her watch it first, then I'll watch it," Pat said. "I'm a softy."

They hope the dramatization may offer hope to other parents whose baby may have the same heart defect.

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