Hans Gabriel Rana

Fear was among the first emotions experienced by Jitesh and Cristine, parents of Hans Gabriel Rana when, immediately following his birth, they were told he needed emergency surgery, and perhaps even a heart transplant.

Hans had his first heart procedure when he was only 20 hours old, and his second at four days. Jitesh and Cristine were told that the procedures would only be temporary fixes and that Hans would require more surgeries as he grew.

After spending two and a half weeks at BC Children’s Hospital, the Ranas finally received some good news: Hans was going home. Over the next few months, the family made numerous trips to the hospital for diagnostic assessments and appointments with specialists to address Hans' medical challenges.  

Hans was born with an extremely rare heart defect. A chamber in his heart, the right ventricle, which pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs to be oxygenated, was too small. 

Eight months after his birth, on October 9, 2008, Hans underwent his first open-heart surgery. The life-saving procedure enabled Hans' small right ventricle to work less and allowed more blood to reach his lungs. After a five-day stay in the hospital Hans was able to go home. 

Despite the success of this surgery, the next five years were tumultuous for Hans and his family, at best. As Hans and his heart grew, Jitesh and Cristine faced ongoing uncertainty about his health and turned to the trusted doctors at BC Children’s for the treatments they hoped would give Hans the best quality of life. 

On January 6, 2014, Hans was admitted to BC Children's Hospital for his second open-heart surgery – a three-and-a-half-hour procedure to repair his little heart. Due to Hans’ complex condition, until his chest was opened, doctors were unsure whether he would need two procedures or just one to fix his heart. Fortunately, only one procedure was required and after three days recovering in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and cardiac ward at BC Children’s, Hans was home again.

Hans returned to school three weeks after his surgery and life in the Rana home got back to normal. Visits to the hospital continue but instead of uncertainty, Jitesh and Cristine are comforted knowing that Hans’ heart is functioning the best it ever has.   

Although Hans may require more surgeries in the future, today he is a happy, chatty, vibrant and much healthier young boy.

Watch Hans Gabriel's Story: