All surgeries are life-changing, some are even life-saving, but very rarely is the result so visibly obvious as it was in one of our recent patients. Anton had been admitted to the hospital many, many times in his 8 years of life. Every time he was treated for stomach pains, gastrointestinal infections, and malnutrition. He would improve enough to go home, but would return again within a few months to repeat the cycle. On his most recent admission, he started to manifest symptoms of intestinal obstruction, so our surgery team was consulted to evaluate him. At a mere 16 pounds, he was so emaciated by his chronic illness, that Dr. Ben and I were doubtful he would survive surgery, let alone benefit from it. But without surgery he would surely die, so we took him to theater praying that we would find something that we could do to help him.
To our amazement, we discovered that he had malrotation with chronic volvulus, a congenital condition in which the intestines don’t form in the proper position or with the proper attachments inside the abdomen. This allows the intestines to twist around their blood supply leading to obstruction and ischemia. He had been intermittently obstructing for the past several years! Now the intestines were so twisted that a portion had become ischemic and died, leading to his current presentation. We were able to untwist his intestines, remove the dead portion and reconnect what remained, but we were still worried that he might not survive in his severely malnourished state. By God's grace, Anton recovered faster than we could have hoped. He was eating within a week of surgery and has steadily gained weight over the past month. When I saw him in clinic for follow-up, I didn’t even recognize him as the same kid we had operated on! His hair is growing, his face is fuller and he now has the strength to walk on his own! I praise God for saving and changing Anton’s life in such a dramatic way. I know God has big plans in store for this growing boy.
|1 Month post-op. Is that even the same kid?!|