After 6 months in hospital, 5-year-old’s face lights up when he’s told he’s going home

For the past six months — 189 days to be exact — 5-year-old Ari Schultz has been confined to a hospital room.

Before he was even born, Ari was diagnosed at his 18-week ultrasound with critical aortic stenosis and evolving hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition that leaves the left side of the heart severely underdeveloped.

“You’ve heard of kids that have half a heart? He would have had that,” Ari’s father, Michael Schultz, told CBS News. “So instead of just accepting that, we actually had fetal intervention heart surgery before he was born. He had two successful heart surgeries before he was born. He’s the first-ever to have two successful heart surgeries.”

Mike Schultz and his son, Ari, pose for a picture.

Since then, Ari hasn’t been a stranger to hospitals, tubes or wires.

Over the course of his short life, he’s been on over 50 medications and had upwards of 10 operations, including a heart transplant at Boston Children’s Hospital. He suffered a cardiac arrest which put him on life support back in March, just weeks after the transplant.

“His heart did not beat for approximately 36 hours,” Schultz said. “The doctors told us this was to be expected. They hoped it would begin beating again before 72 hours. It did.”

Through all the crises and sleepless nights, Schultz helped lift his son’s spirits by talking about home and watching sports on TV. He slept by Ari’s side 6 out of 7 nights a week, returning home to visit his other two children.

But last week, he finally got to tell Ari some good news.

“Hey Ari, remember how you got your new heart? Do you know how you’ve been getting better now? Remember when we talked about going home someday?” Schultz can be overheard asking Ari in a video that has been viewed nearly 215,000 times on YouTube.

“Yeah,” Ari replied. “It might be a few weeks.”

“I think something changed,” Schultz told his son.


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