KIDS WITH SHORT BOWEL SYNDROME ARE MISSING PART OF THEIR SMALL BOWEL.
OFTEN, THIS DEADLY CONDITION MUST BE TREATED WITH A TRANSPLANT BUT NOW A NEW WAY TO TREAT THESE KIDS IS CHANGING THAT.
THE A-B-C'S OF LIFE FOR CLAYTON HAVEN'T BEEN EASY. HE WAS BORN WITH GASTROSCHISIS.
A POTENTIALLY DEADLY DISEASE, CAUSING HIS INTESTINES TO BULGE OUT OF HIS BODY.
CLAYTON'S PARENTS ABANDONED HIM AT THE HOSPITAL AT BIRTH. NURSE COURTNEY BURRELL SAYS HE DIDN'T SPEAK AND DOCTORS THOUGHT HE WAS EITHER DEAF OR AUTISTIC.
"I just saw him there, not really playing, not really interacting with any people but you know, there was something about him that drew me to him."
AT FOUR MONTHS OLD, CLAYTON BECAME A CANDIDATE FOR A LIVER TRANSPLANT.
THAT'S WHERE THE ADVANCED INTESTINAL REHABILITATION PROGRAM COMES IN. IT'S ONE OF A FEW IN THE COUNTRY THAT TAKES A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM.
"It's a new approach that I think is the future of medicine."
LED BY DOCTOR DEBORA DURO, TREATMENT CONSISTS OF SPECIALIZED NUTRITION THAT HELPS THE REMAINING INTESTINES IN THESE PATIENTS TO ADAPT AND GROW TO ABSORB NUTRIENTS INSTEAD OF HAVING THEM DEPEND ON A FEEDING TUBE AND INTRAVENOUS NUTRITION. BEFORE THE PROGRAM, THE ONLY OPTION FOR THESE KIDS WAS A TRANSPLANT.THE FIVE-YEAR-SURVIVAL RATE IS NOW 80-PERCENT; COMPARE THAT TO 60-PERCENT FOR A TRANSPLANT. "We are really, really saving kids from transplant and giving them a great quality of life."
AS FOR CLAYTON, LIFE KEEPS GETTING BETTER.
HE WAS ADOPTED TWO YEARS AGO BY THE NURSE THAT HELPED HIM COME OUT OF HIS SHELL.
"Nobody ever gave him that chance. I saw something special in him and I took the time to go in and bring him out."
A ONCE SHY BOY, NOW THRIVING.
DOCTOR DURO SAYS WHILE PEDIATRIC INTESTINAL REHAB IS AN OPTION FOR MOST KIDS WITH SHORT BOWEL SYNDROME, SOME WITH VERY SEVERE CASES MAY STILL HAVE TO UNDERGO A TRANSPLANT.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.