Ammar Muhammed, a 5-year-old Iraqi boy, came through open-heart surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina on Tuesday and was back in his room by late afternoon, a hospital official said.
The youth was listed in critical condition, which is a standard precautionary classification following this type of operation, MUSC Public Information Director Jeff Watkins said.
Ammar has Tetralogy of Fallot, a complex of four heart abnormalities that starve the blood of oxygen, turning the boy's skin blue. One of the most common congenital heart defects, the syndrome is treated surgically on U.S. children before their first birthday.
But the surgery was not available in Iraq. The East Cooper Breakfast Rotary Club secured a Gift of Life grant from Rotary International to make the operation possible.
The boy and his father, Ammad Muhammed, traveled from Haditha, courtesy of the U.S. Marines, who raised money in Iraq to pay their airfare. The elder Muhammed is an Iraqi police lieutenant who befriended Maj. Kevin Jarrard.
Jarrard, a 1995 Citadel graduate, reached out to the East Cooper Breakfast Rotary Club to help Ammar. Rotary member Steve Peper and his wife, Cindy, are hosting father and son in their Mount Pleasant home. The Muhammeds are expected to stay in the area as long as two weeks after the operation.