Special reunion at Texas Children's between doctor and patients

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- This story is a fitting one to go along with February and national heart month. Twin sisters, Kestly and Karly got a second chance at life when their cardiologist performed heart surgery on them when they were only 2 year old. 20 years later, they're all grown up and never had a chance to thank their doctor in person. Earlier this month they finally got that opportunity.

It was a letter from the heart.

"Dear Dr. Fraser, My name is Karly Tinklepaugh and my identical twin sister is Kestly Tinklepaugh. We were your patients in 1996 at Texas Children's Hospital" Karly wrote.

Twins Kestly and Karly thanked their doctor from years ago for saving their lives. They were born with a congenital heart defect, which left untreated could have been fatal.

Dr. Charles Fraser Jr., Chief of Congenital Heart Surgery at Texas Children's told us, "The Tetralogy of Fallot condition is one where there's a big hole between the ventricles, between the pumping chambers, and blockage of the pathway to the lungs. The problem with that is over the course of time, the blockage gets worse and the patients get blue. They get more oxygen deprived, their blood looks blue."

Both twins had similar surgeries to repair the heart defect.

"So we closed the hole with a patch inside the heart, and then relieved the pathway out to the lungs, or the obstruction" Dr. Fraser said.

From there, the twins have gone on to lead very normal lives. Twenty years later, the girls just want to say thanks.

In their letter, Karly wrote, "Kestly and I would love to meet you one of these days and thank you in person for everything you've done for us."

That letter was composed after they became more involved with similar patients in the community

"I joined a Facebook group for Tetroloigy of Ferlot." Kestly Tinklepaugh said. "Then we started YouTubing Dr. Fraser. It's mainly about Dr. Fraiser and since then we're like oh my goodness we have to go see him."

Dr. Fraser agreed, and a reunion was set up.

"I'm really grateful that they reached out to me. Periodically I've kind of pondered where they were and what life had brought them," Dr. Fraser said.

The reunion is something the twins say they'll always be grateful for.
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