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Beaufort’s ‘Baby Joey’ begins recovery after 3rd heart surgery

Lakesha and Joe Williams II tend to their 5-month-old boy, Joe III, Aug. 23, 2016, at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort. Baby Joe was born with a heart condition known as Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He underwent a third heart surgery on Thursday at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital in Charleston.
Lakesha and Joe Williams II tend to their 5-month-old boy, Joe III, Aug. 23, 2016, at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort. Baby Joe was born with a heart condition known as Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He underwent a third heart surgery on Thursday at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital in Charleston. jmitelman@islandpacket.com

Baby Joey’s next step towards a stronger heart appears to have been a success.

Joe Williams III, a 5-month-old Beaufort baby, braved his third heart surgery at Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital in Charleston on Thursday.

The eight-hour procedure was aimed at allowing his heart to operate as if it has a second ventricle. “Baby Joey,” as he is known, faces an expected recovery time of about four to six weeks in the pediatric cardiology intensive care unit.

“They never try to give us an actual time frame, because they truly never know,” said Lakesha Williams, Joey’s mother. “Every case is different.

“We’re hoping for the best. He is stable.”

Joey was born in March with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. One side of his heart didn’t develop.

He underwent his first surgery about five days after birth. Complications from that procedure led to a second surgery soon after.

Joey’s journey for his third surgery began at 5 a.m. Thursday to prepare for the operation starting 90 minutes later. He left the operating room about 3:30 p.m.

“He’s now in the healing process,” Joey’s dad, Joe Williams said. “It all depends on him.”

While in Charleston, the family has stayed in housing provided by a nonprofit organization in Mount Pleasant. A family member has stayed with the Williams’ other children so they can continue to attend school, Lakesha Williams said.

They plan to be with Joey as much as they can. At least one more surgery is expected when Joey is 2 or 3 years old.

Stephen Fastenau: 843-706-8182, @IPBG_Stephen

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