Steven Johnson
Jefferson County
Feature Story
Seven-month-old Steven Johnson loves to smile, laugh and babble the day away. “He’s really a very happy child,” says his mother, Cyntia Ramsey. “He’s so happy, even with all he’s been through.”

Steven has been through quite a lot in his short life. When he was born, testing revealed a serious but rare congenital heart defect – transposition of the great arteries. Steven was transferred to Children’s of Alabama the very next day.

Steven’s condition required an arterial switch procedure, or an open heart surgery that restores normal blood circulation in a baby’s body. “The doctors explained everything to us and how common the procedure is,” Cyntia said. “They were actually very comforting in how much time they spent talking with us about it.”

At just 6 days old, Steven had an arterial switch procedure, or an open heart surgery that restores normal blood circulation in a baby’s body. During surgery, doctors also found and repaired some holes in his heart. “Everything went great, just as expected,” Cyntia said. “They had prepped us to know that things could look worse before they get better post-surgery, but it just seemed like he wasn’t improving. It became quite a roller coaster of Steven seeming to improve, then getting worse, just over and over.”

It was discovered that Steven was also fighting another condition – COVID-19. The disease was making it much harder for Steven’s lungs to heal, but after numerous medications and time on a ventilator, they finally did. “It was so hard because he was hooked up to so much those first few weeks that we couldn’t even hold him,” Cyntia said. “When he finally improved enough to come off the ventilator and we got to hold him, it was everything.”

Quarantined at Children’s, Steven later tested negative for COVID-19 and was given the OK to go home with a feeding tube and oxygen. He has since come off both and is growing and thriving. Doctors expect to perform another surgery when Steven is a little older.

“By looking at him, you’d never know he’s ever had heart problems, and we know that so much of that is because of Children’s,” Cyntia said. “We’re incredibly grateful for the doctors and nurses at Children’s. No one ever wants their child to experience health problems, but knowing that we have the support of Children’s to get through it makes a world of difference.”