Father gets tattoo on chest to match son’s life-saving heart surgery

A father’s love was perfectly displayed when he got a matching tattoo of his son’s heart surgery scar.

6-year-old Joey Watts underwent life-saving heart surgery last month for supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS), a heart defect that develops while a baby is still in the womb and causes a narrowing of a section of the aorta. He was diagnosed just 14 weeks after he was born. While some may never experience symptoms of the condition, others may die in infancy.


After an 8-hour surgery at Leeds Children’s Hospital in England to widen a blood vessel in his heart, Joey spent nearly a week in the hospital to recover.

“It’s not easy for a 6-year-old boy or any child of any age to have that type of surgery. When Joey saw the scar, he just said, ‘Is this where they have cut me to fix my heart?’ We’ve told him it should be something to be proud of and he shouldn’t be ashamed by what has happened to him,” Joey’s mother, Leanne Watts, told SWNS, Fox News reported.

After seeing how he reacted to his surgery scar, Joey’s father, Martin Watts, wanted to do something that will make his son feel proud of what he just survived through.

He went down to a local tattoo shop and got a matching tattoo of his son’s scar in the middle of his own chest. Joey’s heartbeat was also tattooed to the right of the scar design.

heart surgery tattoo

The couple’s older son, 7-year-old Harley, was diagnosed with the same condition while he was still in utero and will undergo the same procedure this year.

“From when they were first born, they told me there was nothing they could do, we would just have to live with it. I was told they could both pass away at any given point. Joey’s condition progressed rapidly. They said if we didn’t try something now the inevitable will be sooner rather than later,” Leanne said.

Martin said that he also hoped to raise awareness for the Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, which raises funds for the heart unit of the hospital.


“All of these warriors should be proud of their scars and all they achieve in life,” Leanne said.

Joey will likely undergo more procedures in the future, but for now, the Watts family is happy that he successfully overcame the first step in his treatment.

“You take comfort from the way surgeons at Leeds handled things with Joey. It will be just as scary but they have given you reason to believe. I thought superheroes wore capes, they don’t, they wear surgical scrubs and gowns,” Leanne said.


Martin’s new tattoo gives the boys confidence about the surgeries that they have yet to go through.

“It’s absolutely fantastic, it just shows him it’s nothing to be scared of and that he should be proud of what he has achieved in life,” Leanne said.

This remarkable act just proves that parents are willing to go the extra mile for the sake of their children to make them feel safe and loved.

Meanwhile watch this Inside Edition news video clip of an awesome dad who did the same thing for his son three years ago.