Asha was working in the kitchen when suddenly out of the corner of her eye thought she saw her 1 year old baby pick up a tiny stone from the floor mat and put it in her mouth. She couldn’t be sure, but took baby Beth to the doctor anyway – who then sent her to the ACH Emergency Department for an x-ray just to be safe. What the x-ray showed is rather remarkable because Beth hadn’t swallowed a rock, but she did have kidney stones. She was immediately referred to Dr. Anthony Cook, a Urologist at the ACH and when he had a follow up ultrasound sound, the stones were large and one was blocking the kidney. What’s ironic about this is that Beth had no symptoms of kidney stones – which are usually incredibly painful – whatsoever. Who knows how long they could have gone without the stones being detected – and they could have eventually gone septic – which would’ve meant a whole new set of problems. Dr. Cook told Asha that the stones were large – 1 cm – which is big even for an adult. They now know that Beth has a rare condition where her kidney is missing the ability to process amino acid and kidney stones can literally form overnight.
If her stones get any larger than they have been, Dr. Cook would need to perform a surgery using a nephroscope to go into the kidney, blast the stones apart and then remove the pieces. However, because Beth’s stones are extra strong as part of her condition, blasting them apart creates a lot of debris and because Dr. Cook is working in such a small area – a toddler’s kidney – it’s impossible to see if he’s removed all of the pieces. So, he’ll leave a stent in the site and then check back at a later date to remove any remaining pieces then. Beth will have this condition for life and while it’s managed very well with help of Beth’s care team at ACH – Asha feels badly that Beth has a lot of pain in her life that she’s probably so used to by now. Beth’s parents have considered moving to BC but because of the care and the team in place at the ACH for their daughter, moving now isn’t an option…they just don’t want to go anywhere else. Dr. Cook has given them his personal cell phone number and responds to them whenever they have a question. He’s even offered to come in on the weekends to do surgeries for Beth. They’ve considered moving from Calgary – but are staying put because of the ACH.