Baby born with rare condition headed home

January 17, 2011 3:16:32 PM PST
A baby born at a hospital in suburban Naperville is ready to go home after more than six months of care.

Manuel Hernandez was born premature and had to have several surgeries because of a rare condition.

It is a story of beating the odds. Hernandez was born with liver, stomach and all of his intestines outside of his body. It is a condition that occurs in one out of every 5,000 births. Doctors thought he had a very low chance of survival at birth, but he fought to live and now will be going home Tuesday.

The newborn was born with gastroschisis -- internal organs outside of his body He will be leaving Edward Hospital Tuesday after a six-and-a-half month stay in the intensive care unit.

"I'm really happy. He's coming home," said mom Angie Hernandez.

"We're super excited to have him out of the hospital," said dad Wilbert Pena.

Manuel "the Manster," as he is called by hospital staff, was born 15 weeks premature with this condition and weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces.

He is among the most premature babies to be born with gastroschisis in the United States and survive.

Registered Nurse Tina Lambert has taken care of the baby from the start

"I have taken care of babies like this before but nothing as small as he was," said Lambert.

Doctors say Manuel has numerous other medical problems and challenges. He had seven surgeries and at last nine consulting physicians and specialists.

Manny is a miracle baby. Doctors say that his short-term and long-term prognosis is very good.

"He is still at risk," said neonatologist Deanna Duray. "There is still an opportunity with aggressive therapy, a lot of eyes watching him as an outpatient, to have a very normal life."

Manuel is doing well and is ready to go home Tuesday. He will be cared by his parents and grandparents. Everyone believes he will have a bright future because he is such a fighter with a will to live.

Baby Manuel had liver problems due to prolonged IV use. He needed treatment with a drug from Germany that required a special FDA license. It took seven weeks to get the drug, which doctors said reversed the damage to Manuel's liver.