Lea and Jeremy’s world was turned upside down last January when their little boy Jazen became so sick with a virus that he ended up in the PICU at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. And things took a turn for the worse when he went into respiratory failure and had to be put onto ECLS – a special heart and lung bypass machine that gives the lungs a chance to rest so the patient can recover. Once Jazen was successfully put on ECLS, he was transported up to Edmonton where he remained on by-pass for 4 weeks. While ECLS saved his life, Jazen had three strokes in Edmonton, and the infection in his lungs was so advanced that his left lung had to be removed. When he was strong enough, he returned to the PICU at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, where he was put under the care of the Neurocritical Care Program (NCC) and Neurologist Dr. Michael Esser. Dr. Esser worked with the experts in the PICU to monitor Jazen’s brain to ensure it suffered as little residual damage as possible as a result of his strokes. He was still intubated and because several attempts to take him of the breathing machine failed, experts prepared that he might have to have a tracheostomy. Thankfully, the last attempt to extubate worked and he is trach-free! When he finally woke up, his first word was “Mama!”
The strokes Jazen had suffered left his right side weak and he was in a wheelchair when he started at the Gordon Townsend – the school at the hospital where kids can keep up with studies and also receive the rehab they need. Last week, Jazen had an appointment with his NCC doctor and he walked in to the appointment, in fact his mum says he’s running all over the place and the weakness on his right side is undetectable. His parent can’t believe the change in him, especially considering everything that their son went through in 2016.
Both ECLS and Neurocritical Care are donor-funded programs which are unique to the Alberta Children’s Hospital – and both had a profound impact on Jazen’s care and recovery. Without them, Jazen’s story would have quite a different ending.