State: Portland, OR
Facility: Shriners Hospitals for Children – Portland
David is a 7 tear old with V.A.T.E.R. syndrome. The initials refer to five different areas in which a child may have abnormalities: Vertebrea, Anus, Trachea, Esophagus, and Radius and/or Renal. A child diagnosed with this syndrome will not necessarily have a problem in every area, but a constellation of birth defects involving many of the areas. There is no currently known cause, but a gene defect is believed to be involved.
David was diagnosed immediately after birth. He had problems with his trachea and esophagus, which was surgically fixed shortly after birth. His left radius (the large lower bone of the arm) was malformed and his hand was missing a thumb. He had one of his fingers surgically moved to make a thumb. He has only one kidney and severe scoliosis. At the age of two, David had spine fusion.
Over the years, David’s scoliosis has continued to progress, resulting in the need for him to be placed in halo traction for 2 months prior to spine fusion again. During this latest hospital stay in traction, he had a rare surgery to undo the fused pieces of his spine to help stretch it. A day before his scheduled surgery to remove the halo and fuse his spine he had an eight minute seizure. He has never had a seizure, so surgery was postponed for further testing.
During these 2 months he had endured numerous blood draws, PICC lines, CAT Scans and MRIs. He states he “hates” these tests, but is brave and courageous. He attends school everyday, has made friends with other patients and has become a favorite with the staff. His smile and mischievous giggle are infectious. Because of everything David has been through and will continue to go through due to his diagnosis he is Shriners Hospitals for Children – Portland’s HERO OF THE MONTH!