Tuesday, September 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Stealing hearts: Aria Schilling thrives after December surgery

14 heart trouble 1

Briggette Schilling, left, kisses her daughter, Aria, at their home in Vacaville, Thursday. Aria had a procedure for a correction for pulmonary artery stenosis on Dec. 4., 2013. A week before she was set for heart surgery her health insurance denied her coverage for the procedure. Schilling's parents campaigned successfully to reverse their decision. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | February 14, 2014 |

VACAVILLE — Aria Schilling is only 18 months old and knows how to keep an audience captive. She lifts up her top to expose a scar, the result of heart surgery in early December.

The Vacaville tot made news around the nation last fall as her parents battled their insurance provider to have the operation performed at the hospital, and with the doctor most familiar with their daughter’s health.

The Schillings said they spent months preparing for the surgery only to be told a few days before the scheduled date that it wouldn’t happen because they were using a physician and facility out of the insurer’s network.

Aria’s mother, Briggette Schilling, vented her frustration on Western Health Advantage’s Facebook page. Friends did the same.

Rick Heron, a spokesman for Western Health Advantage, said the family’s privacy request prohibits him from talking about the situation.

The media got wind and began calling. Briggette Schilling and her husband Johan Schilling appealed to the state’s Department of Managed Health Care, which ruled it was in Aria’s best interest to be operated on by the doctor she knew well at Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

Surgery was Dec. 4. Aria was home within a week. A new child soon began to emerge.

“She’s sassy now,” said sister Cambria Schilling, 10.

She’s a much more active Aria, her parents said.

“I’ve seen her personality blossom,” Johan Schilling said. “She’s the healthiest looking sick baby.”

Aria has taken to climbing on the furniture. When her father reminded her she didn’t belong on the ottomans, she looked at him, lifted up shirt and showed him the scar as reminder of what she’s endured in her young life.

She arrived about six weeks early, surrounded by a team of doctors who quickly whisked her away. The delivery happened so fast Briggette Schilling was still in her clothes.

Hours passed and the couple had yet to hold their daughter. Johan Schilling went looking for answers. He wasn’t prepared for what he was told. He called his wife and told her to come see baby Aria. The doctors weren’t expecting her to make it.

“We had no clue (things were so bad),” Briggette Schilling said. The couple met with a chaplain.

Their daughter’s heart rate was 220 beats per minute. At that rate, the heart would give out, the doctors told them. The normal heart rate for newborns is 120 to 160 beats per minute.

The decision was made to put her on life support. About 20 minutes before that was to happen, Aria’s heart spontaneously corrected itself.

“It had to be divine intervention,” Briggette Schilling said.

Aria was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia, medical lingo for a rapid heart beat. The surgery in December repaired a valve between her heart and lungs, and several holes in her heart.

She’s now off the medications prescribed for her surgery. The family wants to get away for a day or weekend. The medication routine kept them homebound.

Minnie Mouse is Aria’s favorite. There’s plenty of toys to occupy her, including some she can sit on and ride.

One thing that is missing is chocolate, a traditional Valentine’s Day treat. The caffeine is not good for rapid heart beats, the Schillings said.

Aria will be dressed in her best clothes, many of them purchased from charities where proceeds go toward researching pediatric heart health.

Aria still has some health issues ahead of her. Another heart surgery may be needed in about 10 years. There is a chance the young girl has Noonan syndrome. One of its symptoms is heart defects.

The battle with their insurance provider put the couple in the spotlight. Other parents of children with heart conditions have reached out to them.

Advocacy is a great way to use the excess energy, Johan Schilling said. One of their biggest passions is getting more funding to research heart conditions in children.

While their story has a happy ending, the Schillings also mourn for the 13 babies they know of who have died in the past two months from heart troubles similar to Aria’s.

“We cherish every moment with her,” Briggette Schilling said.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or amaginnis@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

US / World

California wildfire crews brace for weather shift

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
LA County sheriff’s deputies testing body cameras

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Bear suspected to have killed New Jersey hiker

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Poll: Support for gay marriage may be leveling off

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamic State militants kill 40 Iraqi troops

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sierra Leone, Liberia brace for new Ebola cases

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamist group kidnaps Frenchman in Algeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 3 Comments | Gallery

Pennsylvania governor confident ambush suspect will be caught

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Focus on UVa employee in student’s disappearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

State police: 3 missing Afghan soldiers in custody

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Prosecutor: 800 rounds found in intruder case

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Islamic State offensive poses problems for Turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Study links changing winds to warming in Pacific

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Crews work to clear debris from Shasta mudslide

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial cartoon for Sept. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
Still searching for the bottom in Iraq

By John M. Crisp | From Page: , 1 Comment

Academia needs to act to protect college women

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page:

 
Question of the week: Will the drought end this year?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Kris Jenner files to divorce Bruce Jenner

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Alaska TV reporter quits on air to promote pot

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Shonda Rhimes lays claim to Thursday nights on ABC

By Frazier Moore | From Page: | Gallery

 
Giuliani to help fight Noriega’s video game suit

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

‘The Lion King’ earns record box office

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Eric Lynch, Howard Stern’s diminutive foil, dies

By The Associated Press | From Page:

TVGrid Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Giants get closer, beat Dodgers 5-2 in 13 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Prep boys water polo: Mustangs go 3-0 in Dixon tourney

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Prep boys soccer: Mustangs hold Indians to 0-0 draw

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
MNF: Bears hold on to beat Jets 27-19

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Jeff Samardzija pitches A’s past Angels 8-4

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Nebraska’s Abdullah: Jameis Winston must grow up

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders have to settle for moral victory

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Home of 49ers lineman Ray McDonald burglarized

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Undisciplined play sends 49ers to 1-2 start

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Kicking game: It is called football, after all

By Barry Wilner | From Page:

US Soccer stands by Solo decision

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
FIFA ethics judge hesitates on World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Braves fire GM Frank Wren after missing playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Royals beat Indians 2-0, gain on Tigers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Bettman says NHL proactive about off-ice conduct

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Silver: NBA will review domestic violence policies

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Concern over McIlroy, McDowell more about results

By The Associated Press | From Page:

NFL vetting process: There are no sure things

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Owner: ‘No misinformation’ by Ravens on Rice

By The Associated Press | From Page:

This date in sports history for Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Kent creates scholarship for Cal women’s athletics

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Treasury to unveil steps to curb tax inversions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Tesco suspends execs over inflated profit report

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GM expert says 21 deaths eligible for compensation

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Apple: 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sold

By The Associated Press | From Page:

US existing home sales fall in August

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Investors fret Yahoo’s future, stock dips

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Businesses and investors pressing for green policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Garfield Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Beetle Bailey Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Frank and Ernest Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
B.C. Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6