NRL News

Baby girl undergoes life-saving surgery minutes after birth

by | Feb 13, 2017

Born with multiple organs protruding from her body

By Dave Andrusko

Elliotte Sargent, now four and a half months old, is pictured with her parents (Photo: PA Real Life)

Elliotte Sargent, now four and a half months old, is pictured with her parents (Photo: PA Real Life)

There is not a word (at least in the stories I read) about what must have flashed through the minds of Mary and William Sargent of Wilmington, North Carolina, when they saw the results of a scan taken of their unborn baby at 19 weeks.

They had come to find out whether Mrs. Sargent was carrying a boy or a girl. But in the process the couple discovered that their baby suffered from an ultra-rare condition–gastroschisis–where babies are born with parts of their body protruding outside their abdominal wall, after they fail to develop properly in the womb.

The great news is that five months after Elliotte was born at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in North Carolina, following a 42-hour labor, she is healthy and at home, with no reason to believe she will require additional surgery.

And considering that Elliotte’s stomach, bowels, fallopian tubes, and ovaries were outside her body, that is no small accomplishment.

What happened to her next warrants Mrs. Sargent’s description: “She’s my miracle” (1 baby in 3,000 suffers from this dangerous condition.)

Surgeons immediately performed a two-hour operation on Elliotte “to push some of her organs back in,” according to the Daily Mail’s James Draper, “but not all would fit.”

Mrs. Sargent explained, “’As soon as she was born she was popped in a see-through trash bag, so her organs weren’t exposed to air.”

However, Mrs. Sargent also told the Daily Mirror, “Before I even had a chance to hold her, she was whisked for surgery.”

Draper explained what happened next:

Over the next 12 days, the baby’s bag was gradually shortened, as gravity took hold and her organs worked their way naturally back into her tiny, newborn body.

On the 8th day, Elliotte underwent surgery to have the hole in her stomach stitched back up.

‘Then, finally, I got to hold her,’ Mrs Sargent added. ‘It was an awesome moment. Completely wonderful.’

Elliotte was in the hospital for 63 days. Doctors wanted to be sure she “she was drinking big gulps of milk and going to the toilet daily.” Soon, “the tot, born weighing 6lb 2oz, weighed 8lb.”

The Mirror ended its story on a wonderful note:

“And in November she came home,” smiled her mum. “It was wonderful, walking out of hospital with her.”

Now, although she still has regular check-ups, Elliotte is recovering well and is unlikely to need further surgery.

“She’s my miracle,” Mary said. “I wouldn’t be without her.”

Categories: Infants