Hawaii couple hopeful as 5-month-old son with rare heart defect faces long journey

At first glance, you would think little Tristan Davis is in perfect health.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 1:27 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 4:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At first glance, you would think little Tristan Davis is in perfect health.

But that’s not the case.

“We found out when he was born that he has something called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which is where the left side of his heart didn’t form during pregnancy,” said his mother, Kelly Davis.

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a rare defect that forces the healthy side of the heart to work harder. Tristan is only 5 months old and he has already undergone two major surgical procedures.

“The first surgery, he was a week old. He didn’t know what was going on, but now he’s like a little person. It’s just sad to watch him struggle,” said his father, Laurence.

Tristan is being treated at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston because the medical care he needs to survive isn’t offered in Hawaii. He has been there since the day he was born.

His mom has been at his bedside since giving birth last October so she has been apart from her husband and daughters.

“It’s been very difficult,” she said. “We have a macadamia nut farm back on the Big Island. My husband and dad and one of my best friends have been helping me keep that running.”

Laurence Davis is also a Big Island police officer. He has only been able to hold his son a few times during short visits to Texas.

Their daughters just recently went to Houston to be with their mother and brother.

“Every once in a while life has to remind you, ‘Don’t get too cocky. Don’t get too confident.’ And something like this happens,” Laurence said.

It’s been physically hard on Tristan since his second operation, and he’s facing more hurdles.

He will need another open-heart surgery when he’s 3. Later in life he may need a heart transplant.

“Going forward we’re just really be grateful for every day we have with him,” Kelly said.

The Davises could really use encouragement as they wait for the go-ahead from doctors to bring Tristan home. Kelly created a Facebook page called “Tristan’s Tenacious Heart Journey” in hopes that people in Hawaii will follow it.

“We would love to have followers in the community give us support and prayers for our baby, so hopefully he gets through these surgeries and he’s able to come back home,” she said.

“It really gives me hope, realizing you’re not alone and other people do care.”

The Davises said their son is resilient and they have seen encouraging signs. But in many ways, Tristan’s battle is just beginning.