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Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia
Joshua Hopkins

By Cathy Hopkins

My son, Joshua, was born on January 8, 2007 after a normal pregnancy with several ultrasounds. When he was born he immediately had trouble breathing and was very pale with a barrel-shaped chest. After he was rushed to the NICU at St. Vincent's and placed on a ventilator, the doctors discovered he was born with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia which means that his abdominal organs were up in his chest due to a hole in his diaphragm. He was immediately transported to Children's and stayed on a ventilator for 36 hours. Then came the dreaded call to St. Vincent's asking my permission to place him on the ECMO machine to try to save his life. I was told he would have a 50/50 chance of surviving if he was placed on the machine and it had its risks but there were no other options left. He was on the ECMO machine for ten days and then had surgery to insert a gortex patch to replace the part of his diaphragm that wasn't there. He was at Children's for the first month and a half of his life and came home on oxygen. He had to have a second surgery that July to repair a place where the patch had come loose. He made it through both surgeries like a champ and is such an inspiration to me. He is currently doing well with no need for supplemental oxygen. He has had some hurdles to overcome, but to have him alive and well is a miracle. I was told that Children's is one of a few hospitals in the southeast that even has the ECMO capabilities. We were very fortunate to have such great doctors and nurses!

Children's means a lot to me and my family because without it, my son would not have had the technology and skilled doctors and nurses to address the birth defect he was born with and his chance of survival would have been less. My son was given a chance to live because of Children's.
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