Patient Stories > Jaiden Colon
Dawn Sites' baby was diagnosed with gastroschisis at 18 weeks. The condition is a birth defect in which an infant's intestines stick out of the body through a one- to two- inch hole in the abdominal wall at the umbilical cord. The defect needs to be treated surgically after the baby is born.
Dawn gave birth to her son Jaiden in January of 2011 and he was immediately transferred by ambulance to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. Although surgery can sometimes be performed right away, surgeons waited a week in order to allow Jaiden time to grow. During that time, his intestines were protected by a special plastic sac that could be pushed a little in each day.
During surgery to close Jaiden's abdomen, doctors inspected his intestines and discovered that the front portion of duodenum had lost blood supply. This was a major complication because it includes the area where the bile duct drains the liver and pancreas.
Surgeons then performed a series of complex and innovative operations to reestablish continuity of Jaiden's intestinal tract. The duodenum was isolated so no fluid could flow through it. The damaged portion of the duodenum was removed and the remaining healthy tissue was used to reconstruct it. Two more operations helped with reconstruction, and in July, all structures were connected and the feeding tube was removed.
Throughout this time, Jaiden remained in St. Christopher's NICU because he required IV nutrition and had many tubes that needed to remain in place. Dawn says the hospital staff really became part of her family. She appreciated that everyone took the time to answer her questions and explain Jaiden's condition and treatment in a way that she could understand.
Today, Jaiden's digestive tract is completely functional, and he's eating both formula and solid foods. He is also is walking and doing everything developmentally normal for his age.