A baby who was born inside-out with his organs on the outside of his body has been saved by a quadruple organ transplant at only eight-months-old.
Baby Vincent, now 20 months, developed the rare condition gastroschisis in the womb, where his intestines extended out of his abdomen through a hole next to his belly button.
The Inside-out baby needed a life-saving quadruple organ transplant.
He was born with both his small and large intestines outside of his body and after multiple surgeries and health complications because of the condition, he needed a life-saving quadruple organ transplant.
Parents Celeste and Joshua Hayes were offered an abortion at 14 weeks when their son was diagnosed but refused and have watched Vincent defy all odds.
Celeste, 27, said: “We found out something was wrong when I was 12 weeks pregnant but because he was so small it wasn’t confirmed until a scan at 14 weeks that he had gastroschisis.
“The doctors offered me an abortion because of the complications he would have but I knew I didn’t want to do that.
“I was induced at 38 weeks because the obstruction caused by his intestines meant that they lost track of his weight and worried he would be stillborn, but he was born weighing a healthy 6lbs 6oz on September 2, 2019.
“He was born with his intestines and part of his colon outside of his body and they had to let him grow more to be able to fit them inside his abdomen – we were told he would have a difficult life.
“After failed surgeries to save his intestines and other damaged organs he ended up having a quadruple organ transplant to replace his small and large intestines, pancreas and colon at eight-months-old.
“The organs were too big for his little body so his whole abdomen had to be left open after the transplants and it still isn’t fully closed now.
“Despite being advised to abort him and told he wouldn’t survive very long he’s still here and fighting – he writes his own story.
“Now we’ve started to see a happy, smiling baby and he’s getting stronger every day.”
The family, from Wendell, North Carolina, US, have temporarily moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, US to get the best medical care for baby Vincent.
Vincent, the inside-out baby, has undergone countless major surgeries in his short life so far, after his external intestines became necrotic, turned black and started to die.
He ended up losing all of his small intestines and some of his colon, after two surgeries failed to save the dying tissue and left him with scar tissue blockages.
Vincent then also went into stage four liver failure due to his liver filling up with bile from not being able to process nutrition and surgery to fit a bile drain at two-months-old was also unsuccessful in reversing or preventing further the damage.
He had to wait months to be able to have the life-saving organ transplants he needed, until he reached a minimum of 121 21lbs to survive the surgery.
In May 2020, at eight-months-old, Vincent finally had a quadruple organ transplant, completely replacing his large intestine, liver and pancreas, and connecting his existing healthy organs with parts of the donor colon.
As a result of so many organs being transplanted at once and the size of the organs, Vincent lost his gallbladder and spleen.
In the aftermath of that surgery he developed a graft-versus-host disease where the donor organs began to attack his weak body, risking shutting down his healthy native organs and leaving his skin covered in blisters.
But despite everything he pulled through and continues to fight his way towards a normal, healthy life.
Celeste said: “We were told by doctors multiple times that things weren’t looking good.
“At one point we were told we were getting near to the point where we might just have to take him home and make him comfortable because they didn’t think he would survive.
“But he’s such a fighter and he’s still here proving everyone wrong.
“When we brought him home for the first time it was really fun to be able to show him the outside world and there was a lot of playing and walking in the park.
“We’re just so happy to still have him here with us and to be able to share those special moments with him.”