Three-year-old Ethan Suglo from Ghana is born with a rare condition, a condition so rare that it occurs in about one in 5000 pregnancies.
The condition is called Exomphalos which means his organs are outside his abdominal cavity and are hanging out of his stomach.
Because of the complexity and rarity of his condition, people thought that there will be no hope for him, or at least it is very distant, and that he has to live with the condition for the rest of his natural life.
That is, until Dr. David Williams from Britain flew to Ghana to visit his daughter who had been teaching English and working on a radio station.
At a chance encounter, he met Ethan’s father Charles at the radio station, who also happened to be working at there.
According to a Mirror story, Charles pleaded for David to examine his son and his condition.
Photo credit: Mirror UK
“So I went thinking I’d see a little African boy with a swollen tummy…malnutrition and worms, and when I got there I was just shocked by what I saw,” he recalled. “I’d never seen it before, certainly not in a two-year-old.
“I don’t think I’d ever seen it in my career, I’ve been a doctor 20 or 30 years and I’d never seen this case.
“I wasn’t sure at that time what would be involved, but I did look Charles in the eye and said I’d do what I could to help.”
Within a year, David and his wife Jacquie helped raise £51,000 to fly the toddler to the UK for surgery.
David’s initial plan was to get in touch with Ghanaian or Nigerian surgeons to arrange the surgery locally, but soon it became apparent that they lacked both the expertise and the equipment.
He then contacted professors and surgeons in England and a paediatric surgeon at the John Radcliffe Hospital said he could do the operation.
Find out more about Exomphalos on the next page
Asked why he decided to through all these efforts to help a boy, David said that Ethan’s life story has affected him viscerally.
“They don’t let the little boy go out of the house because everybody pokes his tummy and prods at him and makes comments,” shared David. “So when he’s at home he will be able to go to school and have a normal life, play football and be a normal boy again.”
Thanks to David and his wife’s efforts, Ethan will be able to get a shot at a normal life, something that was before just a dream.
Photo credit: Mirror UK
“It’s a miracle,” Ethan’s father said, adding that David and Mrs. Williams is bringing a lot of joy and excitement to his family.
“He’s incredible really. He’s a very happy child, a very happy disposition,” David said of Ethan. “Nothing seems to have fazed him really. He’s met lots of people and he’s very brave. “But also he just gets on with it. He’s just an adorable three-year-old.”
What is Exomphalos?
According to Southampton Children’s Hospital, Exomphalos occurs when the baby’s abdominal wall where the umbilical cord joins it is weak, which then allows the abdominal contents to protrude outward from the abdominal cavity.
What causes Exomphalos is unknown; it’s a rare condition occurring in about 1 in 5000 pregnancies.
“About half of all babies with Exomphalos will have problems affecting other body systems,” the website said. “Most commonly affected are the heart, lungs, and kidneys.”
Not only that, scans will be performed in the womb, but it will not always detect problems until the baby is born.
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