When doctors at his community hospital uncovered signs of serious illness, they immediately transferred Patrick to Stony Brook Children's, where advanced pediatric specialists were able to diagnose and treat his rare condition.
It was an ordinary day, just before New Year's, when 8-month-old Patrick developed a fever and started vomiting. "At first I thought it was just a stomach bug," says his mother Melissa. "But he was just so wiped out that we packed him up and brought him to our local community hospital."
There, the Emergency Department physician became alarmed at the blood work results. Normal white cell count is between 1,000 and 7,000, and Patrick's was at 70,000. He recommended immediate transfer to Stony Brook Children's. At Stony Brook, Patrick was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Melissa remembers her son being surrounded by eight or nine healthcare professionals working with a sense of urgency and calling for different specialists. That's when she realized just how serious her son's condition was. Pediatric surgeon Richard Scriven, MD, reviewed the x-rays of Patrick's belly with Melissa. "He told me he had a hunch that it was Hirschsprung's disease, which is not usually fatal." she says. "Dr. Scriven did emphasize, however, that Patrick was really, really sick."
Dr. Scriven's diagnosis was correct—Hirschsprung's enterocolitis—and a few hours later, he performed a lifesaving surgery on Patrick. In total, he had seven surgeries at Stony Brook Children's and today is a happy and healthy boy. At children's hospitals, often there is a defining moment that gives a parent hope.
For Melissa, it happened one day amidst the comings and goings of the doctors and nurses. "I looked over at Patrick and he smiled. At that moment, I knew it was all going to be OK."