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Hirschsprungs Disease
Martez Ligon

By The Grace of God
By Janie M. Martin


On April 5, 2008, my daughter gave birth to my beautiful grandson Martez D. Ligon. Within hours of his birth the nurses at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, Alabama noticed immediately there was something seriously wrong. Little Martez did not have a bowel movement. Food was going in, but nothing was coming out. He was constantly feeding, but his bowel was not working. I think what was most frightening was that his stomach was rising, as if someone was pumping air into a tire that had reached its full capacity. The baby was placed under observation, until the doctors could figure out what was wrong with him. Little Martez whom was only known as Baby Martin for months, because my daughter did not have time to name him, was air lifted to Chidren’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. It was at Children’s Hospital that we first heard the word Hirschsprungs Disease. I have two children of my own, and I thought I had heard of most of the diseases involving children, but I was dumb founded. I had never heard of anyone even mentioning this disease. I found out that one out of 5,000 newborns are born with this birth defect. Babies with Hirschsprungs Disease are born without intestinal nerve cells called ganglion cells. In short, intestinal blockage, and this blockage causes the abdomen to swell uncontrollably. Babies may often vomit green bile after feedings. My grandson whom was only two days old had a pull through operation. I was scared, and I know my daughter was devastated, but we remained optimistic. The nurses and the doctors at Children’s Hospital were very empathetic, hopeful, and compassionate. It was mentally exhausting to think of a newborn having surgery without having to discover that a pull-through operation involves taking out part of the intestine that does not work, and connecting the healthy part to the anus. After the surgery my daughter had to make periodic trips to the hospital, and there would always be episodes in the late hours of the night when my daughter would awake to my grandsons stomach swollen like a basketball, and he would be turning blue. My grandson was airlifted several times since his diagnosis, and my daughter has spent a lot of time caring for her baby. I am very proud of her because she is only 19, and she found out that there is more to rearing and nurturing a child than having a baby. Oddly enough, this situation has forced my daughter to mature beyond her years. That was one year ago. My grandson’s disease is now under control. He is being frequently monitored. He still goes to Children’s Hospital to be evaluated and for regular check ups every three months. I credit Martez’s successful recovery and new beginning to my daughters love, prayer, the hospital staff, the devoted Dr. Keith Georgeson, and by the grace of God.
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