Three Year Old’s Intestines Left on the Outside of her Body

“Oakleigh was alert even as her surgeon pushed her organs back inside of her over the course of a week”

Oakleigh was in a lot of pain when she first arrived at Kosair Children’s Hospital. Several x-rays revealed that she was suffering from a blockage in her bowels. Her doctors performed surgery and discovered that three year old Oakleigh had congenital intestinal malrotation, the twisting of the intestines caused by abnormal development while a fetus is in utero. This put her at a high risk for volvulus and intestinal obstruction, two very serious complications. Volvulus occurs when the intestine twists in on itself, potentially cutting off the blood supply. An intestinal obstruction occurs when tissue creates a blockage that prevents the intestine from functioning. During Oakleigh’s surgery, her doctors uncoiled her intestines and took out her appendix to avoid future problems. After a week-long stay in the hospital, Oakleigh was allowed to return home.

Unfortunately, constant vomiting brought her back to the ER a week later. She underwent a second surgery in which two thirds of her colon and scarred tissue were removed. However, her bowel was too swollen and inflamed, requiring yet another procedure. Due to the swelling, only some of her intestines could be put back inside of her body. The rest of Oakleigh’s intestines were placed inside a surgical pouch called a silo bag that was suspended on the outside of her body. Every day, Oakleigh’s surgeon would visit her in the PICU to gently push part of her intestines back into her abdomen until everything was inside. She was unsedated and alert during this week-long process, even though her intestines were visibly hanging outside of her body. During that hospital stay, she also had a third surgery to reconnect her intestines to her bowels. Once the silo bag was empty, Oakleigh went back into the operating room for her final surgery where the remaining parts of her colon were put back in her body and the hole in her abdomen was closed.

Oakleigh spent over 28 days in the hospital recovering from her numerous surgeries as her doctors monitored any swelling from her incision and managed her pain. It was an extremely draining and traumatic ordeal for the once active and playful little girl. After all that she’s been through, Oakleigh’s brave perseverance in the face of hardship is what truly makes her a Hero.

We are proud to honor Oakleigh’s strength by recognizing her as Kid’s Wish Network’s along with Kosair Children’s Hospital’s Hero of the Month. Congratulations, Oakleigh!


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