Jodi Baker, 28, and Brian Willett, 30, were preparing to say their final goodbyes to their 1-month-old son Jake, who was suffering from a severe infection in his intestine after having been born two months early, when a doctor overheard their devastated cries and intervened with an idea. He told Willet:
I'm going to try something on your son. It will either save his life or end things.
Can you imagine being faced with that option?
Baker ran out of the room crying and admitted to throwing up, which is precisely the same reaction I'd have facing the same heart-wrenching dilemma.
After Willet gave the doctor the OK to proceed, the surgeon reached into Jake's incubator, made two incisions along his abdomen, and inserted into each a standard-issue hospital glove that kept the wounds open and allowed the infection to drain.
It worked. The out-of-the-box thinking bought Jake enough time and gave him enough strength to be transferred to a London hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries for liver failure, swollen brain ventricles, and a hole in his heart. He also had 17 blood transfusions and plenty of other infections.
Now, at 16 months, Jake's doing great and is expected to make a full recovery.
Wow. I can't even begin to put myself in the parents' shoes here -- how terrified they must have been to hold their son's life in their hands, then hand it over to a doctor with his somewhat out-there idea.
They made the brave and ultimately right choice that saved their boy's life. Now the parents just want to find the mystery doctor who performed the surgery -- allegedly, he was a visiting doc and no one knows enough about him to track him down.
The Baker-Willet family certainly has a lot to be thankful for, which is why they've started fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House. I hope Jake continues to grow up to be a healthy boy and that they do, in fact, get in touch with that miracle-working doctor. He deserves a handshake ... and maybe some new gloves.
What would you have done had you been in these parents' shoes?
Photo via alvazar/Flickr