February is Heart Month

Pediatric cardiac surgery resident, Dr. Mohammed Alreshidan, talks about what it’s like to mend tiny hearts

Becoming a cardiac surgeon has been a goal of Dr. Mohammed Alreshidan’s since he was in high school, when he learned that his cousin had given birth to a baby with a cardiac malformation. “He had surgery right after he was born, and then went on to lead a totally normal life, and that inspired me a lot,” says Dr. Alreshidan, who is now a 5th year cardiac surgery resident, currently working with pediatric patients at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“Working with pediatric as opposed to adult patients offers unique challenges,” explains Dr. Alreshidan. “You’re not just caring for the patient, but you’re working closely with a child’s parents, who are usually very worried and concerned when they are first told their child needs open heart surgery. Performing surgeries on such small infants is also very technically complex, and we have to rely on the expertise of the team around us to ensure that everything is done very carefully.”

Working at the Children’s also offers Dr. Alreshidan the opportunity to be exposed to new approaches and unique cases and discuss them with experienced surgeons. “I’m really proud to be able to work and learn from Dr. Christo Tchervenkov, who has over 29 years of experience as a pediatric cardiac surgeon and Dr. Pierre-Luc Bernier, who offers new perspectives and new techniques. It’s good to have that blend of both experience and new energy to increase my knowledge.”

Dr. Alreshidan says the best part of his work is being able to give patients the opportunity to live an entirely normal life. “When you get to see a young patient a few months after their surgery in clinic and they are playing and jumping around…that’s very rewarding. They can go on to do great things in their lifetime.”