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Forrest General Hospital partners with American Heart Association for Little Hats, Big Hearts - Forrest Health
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    Published on February 10, 2017

    Forrest General Hospital partners with American Heart Association for Little Hats, Big Hearts

    Hattiesburg, Miss. (February 9, 2017)– Forrest General Hospital and the American Heart Association have partnered during the month of February for Little Hats, Big Hearts. As part of the program, all babies born at Forrest General's Family Birthplace during the month of February will receive a knitted or crocheted red baby hat to raise awareness of congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country.

    Each hat is unique because all of them are handmade by volunteers. The Little Hats, Big Hearts program began in Chicago in 2014, and participation began at Mississippi hospitals in 2016.

    “Last year Mississippi became the 33rd state to participate in Little Hats, Big Hearts. Today there are more than 40 states. We're really excited about this wonderful program, and it's all possible because of the work of our wonderful volunteers all across the country. The American Heart Association is grateful to Forrest General Hospital and staff for helping babies go red for Heart month,” said Shondel Humphrey, with the Gulfport, Mississippi office of the American Heart Association.

    A congenital heart defect results when the heart or blood vessels do not develop normally before birth. Defects range in severity from simple problems, such as "holes" between chambers of the heart, to very severe malformations, such as complete absence of one or more chambers or valves. Having a congenital heart defect can also increase the risk of developing certain medical conditions such as pulmonary hypertension, arrhythmias, and anticoagulation among others.

    “We are happy to be a part of this program raising awareness on such an important issue during Heart Month. The parents who have received hats so far were excited to have such a special keepsake, and of course, it serves as a reminder for everyone to learn more about the symptoms of congenital heart defects. Many parents are unaware of this issue so it’s wonderful to have a fun way to initiate that conversation and raise awareness,” said Kim Davis, RN, Labor and Delivery patient care manager at Forrest General Hospital.

    Visit for more information about the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, volunteer opportunities, and patterns and safety guidelines for hats. To learn more about congenital heart defects or heart and vascular services at Forrest General, visit

    Pictured: Left to right: Samantha Marshall, RN; Diana Ernzen, LPN; Olivia McLaurin, tech; Kim Davis, RN, Labor and Delivery patient care manager; Shondel Humphrey, American Heart Association; Policia Travis, LPN; Candy Southerland, tech; Hannah Hall, RN

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