Louisiana mother shares a desperate plea to get her daughter a life-saving surgery


MANSFIELD, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A mother in Mansfield faces a heart-breaking situation involving her daughter. Her baby was born with a health condition that threatens her life, but she’s unable to find answers to save her and left frustrated by the health care system.

Kandi Sudds shares the first photos of Serenity taken within hours of her birth. The happy moments following her arrival in April 2019 were cut short when doctors said her heart was not working properly. She was flown to Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.

“They told us when they take her off the ventilator she was only going to live four to five hours. But when they did that she was still breathing. The doctors were shocked,” Sudds said.

Kandi said they were sent home and placed under hospice – end of life care.

“I never knew what hospice meant. They never told me what it meant. It’s a very painful thing to see hospice people everyday. It’s not easy. Like I said, I didn’t know what it meant at first but when I found out it just really hurt to figure that my daughter wasn’t going to make it. I have to see people almost everyday of my life, not living a comfortable life, or doing things better for her,” Sudds said.

But Serenity continues to live, despite being born lacking chromosome 5, call Cri-Du-Chat or Cat’s Cry syndrome, and her pulmonary arteries are switched, so she cannot absorb nutrients and lives off a feeding tube.

“She’s got the NICU bun where the feeding goes in continuously,” Sudds said.

Kandi said doctors told her that if Serenity made it to one year and gained at least nine pounds she could receive two possible surgeries to help her condition.

“But as time passed and we continued to contact them, doctors there and all over, steady kept pushing the issue of weight which they told me she only had to be nine pounds, and we just kept getting the run-around. They just felt like she wasn’t going to make it anyway and that’s exactly what they’re still saying until this day,” Sudds said.

Serenity is now two-years-old and weighs 18 pounds and 4.4 ounces. But Kandi said they keep getting denied the surgeries.

“Every time I see them (doctors) It’s an excuse. Saying oh she needs to wait. It’s the wait. I’m trying to see what is the excuse now. I feel like the doctors everywhere are feeling like it’s a procedure they are not understanding or able to do. I just want to know the truth. Why are we getting denied the surgery?” Sudds said.

Kandi said her daughter made the weight and lived well past one years old. Even her hospice team supports the surgery. Meanwhile Serenity is living in pain.

“She gets to the point where she pulls her hair. She’s uncomfortable. But she can’t talk to tell me. I just have to watch her to know something is wrong. If she’s going to live I want her to be comfortable. Nobody wants to live suffering,” Sudds said.

Kandi says she’s battled her own health issues since childhood, including with epilepsy and lupus, and was once told she would not live until adulthood. Yet here she is and she wants the same chance for Serenity.

“I don’t know if I’m shutting down faster than my baby. It’s really difficult. When I’m getting weaker.”

Kandi said she was told she would have to be denied by every doctor in Louisiana before they can be transferred to Texas. She was also told that the pandemic is not stopping the procedures from moving forward.

“I would really appreciate any doctor that could look up her case and see what else they could possibly do,” Sudds said.

Kandi said she wants answers, something done to help her daughter, and ultimately wants to see her live.

“Than not doing anything and have her like she is here, in pain. I want to see her live and grow,” Sudds said.

Kandi will meet with Serenity’s doctors again this week to press for answers and see about transferring to Texas.

One of her hospice nurses originally reached out to our news station about her situation and Serenity’s progress despite being on hospice.

Kandi said the biggest help she receives is from her pediatric day care service, Caring Hands in Shreveport.

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