Baby Emma Awaits Dad’s Open-Heart Surgery At Riley

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The 6-month-old was born with her own heart problems, but she’s doing great now.

She was born with her own heart problems -- a heart murmur and a partially closed pulmonary valve.

But Emma Wirgau is healthy now. It’s her dad who brought her to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Monday.

The 6-month-old’s dad, Jonathan Wirgau, is a Riley kid. He’s 26 years old and was at the hospital for his third open-heart surgery.

He was a baby himself when his first open-heart surgery took place; he was rushed to Riley with a congenital heart defect.

His second heart operation was at age 9. And, on Tuesday, he underwent his third surgery with Riley’s renowned pediatric heart surgeon John Brown, M.D.

Emma and mom, Cassandra Snyder, waited anxiously with Emma’s aunt, Betty Bragg, in Riley’s lobby by the glass elevators.

“She’s just trying to make sure that daddy’s OK,” says Snyder, of Huntington.

All the while, Emma was getting lots of attention from passersby.

“She’s my little Cabbage Patch,” says Snyder, who also has a 9-year-old son, Zachary. “I told her, ‘Why have a Cabbage Patch doll when you’ve got the real thing?’”

-- By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.

   Reach Benbow via email or on Twitter @danabenbow.

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