Toddler undergoes open-heart surgery

MEDFORD, Ore. – A Medford toddler is recovering after receiving open heart surgery and it all began with a respiratory virus that’s pretty common for little ones. Jaxon Cempa is two years-old and his parents say he’s usually a healthy boy.

“My son woke up one day with a fever we didn’t think nothing of it really,” said Jaxon’s father, Arlan Cempa.

After days of Jaxon not feeling better his parents took him to the doctor. Arlan says multiple tests all came back normal, until they wound up in the emergency room a few days later.

“The blood work later that night or the next day came back positive for bacteria in his blood. So then they had us bring him back to the hospital where it was coming from,” Cempa said.

The results were worse than expected.

“That’s where everything kinda headed south, fast,” Cempa said.

Jaxon was flown to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland where he received antibiotics. The antibiotics weren’t working, so doctors decided to proceed with open heart surgery.

“Anytime there’s open heart surgery or any surgery there’s always that risk of not coming out of it. I’m definitely well-collected now than I was at the time because he’s made it through and he’s good now. But that wasn’t the case. We were very worried,” Cempa said.

On Monday, Jaxon got out of surgery. He’s now recovering. Arlan says they’re expected to be released from the hospital on Friday.

Jaxon’s dad wants to encourage parents if your child’s fever isn’t going down to get it checked out by a doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

A GoFundMe for Jaxon’s medical expenses has been set up.

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Katie Streit
NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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