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Access to ongoing pediatric care after birth can be key to life

There is nothing in the world that compares to the moment a parent gets to hold his or her newborn child for the first time. Every birth represents new possibilities for the child and the world. But the overriding concern for most parents, in Maryland and around the world, is whether their newborn is healthy.

Most of the time, everything is alright. But there are times when things go wrong, whether by nature or by less-than-adequate medical care during the pregnancy and delivery. Birth injuries can happen. Children in those circumstances often require ongoing, life-long medical care. And in some cases, it may take an attorney to find ways to ensure that all the necessary compensation is obtained to pay those expenses.

The value of knowing that comprehensive care is available is not lost on a family in Colorado. The child at the center of the story is 16-month-old Abel. He was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. That's a condition in which the baby's diaphragm fails to completely develop in the womb. The result is that internal organs don't end up being contained in the abdomen they way they're supposed to.

Within days of his birth, Abel was in the hands of surgeons who worked to repair his hernia. He reportedly came close to dying that day. Mom and dad recall they were actually called in to the operating room to say their goodbyes. Mom says she recalls leaning over the tiny child and telling him it was OK to let go.

But Abel didn't give up. Despite doctors' predictions, even during her pregnancy, that he stood only a 10 percent chance of survival, he is alive and energetic today. Scars criss-cross his body from the six surgeries he endured in the first days of his life. He's fed oxygen through a nose tube much of the day, but not always. He has to take a menu of medications. And he receives ongoing physical therapy. But his prognosis now seems to be positive.

The key is that care is there.

Source: Aurora Sentinel, "Ready, willing, he's Abel: The miracles of Children's Hospital Colorado," Adam Goldstein, Feb. 15, 2012

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