Such cases are called “medical miracles”. The little boy’s respiratory system was in ruins. The prognosis was disastrous. World specialists spread their hands helplessly. Then doctors from Gdańsk stepped in.
Proud parents and the proud team of the University Clinical Center in Gdańsk stood at the bedside of 6-year-old Alex, who was saved from a hopeless condition. – It’s a miracle. If miracles happen in medicine, it is a miracle. The fact that he was saved and with virtually no consequences – admits Professor Piotr Czauderna, head of the Department of Surgery and Urology for Children and Adolescents at the University Clinical Center in Gdańsk.
The only serious consequence is the absence of the boy’s esophagus, as doctors removed it to patch his broken airway. In this way they saved his life. – What we did to Aleks was to simply take part of his own esophagus and sew it into his trachea, hoping that it might work, because none of us actually had any experience with it. I don’t think anyone in the world has done this before, admits Dr. Marcin Łosin from the Department of Surgery and Urology for Children and Adolescents at the University Clinical Center in Gdańsk.
The holes in the trachea and bronchi that Aleks suffered are serious complications of diabetes and a fungal infection. The child and his parents are Russians. When they were in Królewiec, the boy’s condition deteriorated so much that the only chance for salvation was immediate arrival to Poland.
– The esophagus and trachea are located next to each other and between them there was a huge opening, a hole that communicated the trachea and respiratory tract with the digestive tract. Therefore, the patient’s entire breath disappeared in the stomach – explains Professor Witold Rzyman, head of the Department of Thoracic Surgery at the University Clinical Center in Gdańsk. Therefore, the child suffocated and simply began to die.
The nearest hospital was in Elbląg. There, the gastroenterologist on duty – wanting to immediately plug the hole in the respiratory system – inserted a large stent, i.e. a plastic tube, into the boy’s esophagus, thereby separating the respiratory tract from the digestive tract.
With this temporary patch, the boy was transported to Gdańsk. – I doubted that it would be possible to sort it all out, that is, that the boy would be saved – admits Professor Witold Rzyman.
But it worked – the next step was an esophageal transplant.
At that time, Alex was breathing on ECMO, which is a kind of artificial lung, for almost a hundred days. This is one of the best results in the world for a child. This is confirmed by Dr. Wojciech Karolak, who worked in Canada for many years. – I returned to this country and here there is nothing to be ashamed of in our medicine and our treatment (…) This is a world-class hospital – emphasizes Dr. Wojciech Karolak from the Department of Cardiac Surgery and Vascular Surgery of the University Clinical Hospital in Gdańsk.
Alex’s family went to Germany for further rehabilitation.
Main photo source: Fakty TVN