Their 190 bed pediatric hospital serves just under 5,000 admissions every year covering 36 different pediatric specialties and some of the most complex cases in the United States. The hospital also participates in satellite and telemedicine studies and practices to aid hospitals throughout the country and abroad as well. But what makes them even more amazing is the care their doctors, nurses and staff provide to their patients.
Hudson's mother, Dionna, was so amazing to share Hudson's journey and experience at Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center. She is also who nominated them to receive a surprise box, which towards the end of this posting you will see the contents.
After two weeks in the NICU he was life flighted to Duke UMC and spent more than 5 weeks on a breathing machine while in congestive heart failure. We experienced set back after set back. They came on a daily basis from seizures and procedures to fluid overload and breathing difficulty. He had a total of 3 heart surgeries in a 5 1/2 month stay. His complete AV canal repair was on 10/8/13. Hudson spent 11 hours in surgery and came back on full ventilator support. He was on heart and lung bypass for over 6 hours and his lungs were stiff and he suffered from an irregular heart beat that was regulated with a pacemaker. Less than 24 hours after surgery he went into cardiac arrest. They did 4 minutes of chest compressions and have him a code dose of epinephrine. He was brought back then began to seize. He underwent 4 days of therapeutic hypothermia treatment to give his brain the best chance of a full recovery. His body temperature was kept at 33 degrees Celsius. He made small steps towards recovery and was treated for endocarditis (an infection of the heart). Finally, on 11/11/2013 after 164 days in the hospital We took our boy home for the first time.
On 1/31/14 We came back for routine gtube placement and during post op blood work they found some concerning numbers. I was able to take him home and we followed up with a bone marrow biopsy the following Tuesday. Wednesday, 2/3 we got the results.....Hudson had leukemia, AML (M2) to be exact. We were admitted that same day and began chemotherapy two days after admission. There we were geared up for battle a second time but this time against cancer. Hudson finished 6 rounds of chemo, suffered from extremely painful side effects and went days without smiling. That was enough to tear me to bits. He suffered from septic shock on 3 different occasions and we almost lost him, again. His heart was working overtime and we spent almost half of our 7 month admission back in the same ICU we had become so familiar with just months before. His body took a beating but he was able to achieve remission and after 308 days at Duke in August 2014 we brought our son home for the second time. He is still recovering from the chemotherapy and his immune system is working super hard to become fully functional.
We now wait for his 4th heart surgery to replace his mitral valve with a mechanical one. He will be going to Boston Children's this year to participate in a trial surgery, becoming the 5th baby with his defect to have this done. For now we soak up the seconds we have him home because I know all too well that in the matter of seconds your life could change forever..."
"I am so thankful for the staff at Duke. I unintentionally blurred the lines between patient and friend. They were my rocks, they offered emotional and professional advice in our times of desperation, and always went above and beyond while taking amazing care of my very sick son. They loved my children like I loved my children and that was more than obvious. I have connected to these lovely people while going through the most terrifying years of our life. I am forever grateful, and continuously enlightened by the beautiful friendship formed in the midst of the dark and twisted world of cancer. I could count on them while inpatient and I can still count on them now that we are home. Nothing I say can justify the absolute love I have for our Duke family. Essentially, they not only saved Hudson's life but mine too."