Posted (Tina) in All Posts on April-11-2007

If you remember, just last night I submitted a message to the main hospital page at Shands. I wrote in with the following message:

My husband and I just found out that our unborn daughter has been diagnosed with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. I am 21 weeks along in my pregnancy. Thank God for your website – – it is the only resource I can find nationally that is offering our baby a true chance at life. Locally, the doctors have taken the stance that we should end the pregnancy, which is simply not an option for me and my husband. We want to give our daughter her best chance at life. Reading about Dr. Kays gives us the impression that he has a true passion for this abnormality and that he is there to “fight” with us, leveraging his talents to achieve the best outcome possible. I would love for someone to contact me so I can find out how your program for CDH works and what “next steps” you recommend.

At 1:49pm while working, an email message came in. It was Dr. Kays responding to my inquiry! I cannot believe that the actual surgeon was writing me back personally – – that is unheard of these days.

He wrote:

Dear Tina,

Thank you for your note. I was touched by your sentiment, as we often hear that termination is the recommended course.

Yes, I am passionate about these children, and we are very experienced. We treat about 30 kids per year. We have had several families travel from Colorado for delivery and treatment of their children here at UF. I am happy to talk with you about whether this is an option for you or not. (Unfortunately, we cannot accept medicaid from other states, so I hope this isn’t an issue.)

Please let me know a few things about your baby. Boy or girl? Name yet? Left or right? What is in the chest? Did they measure a lung to head ratio (LHR)? Are there any other anomalies noted? Was an amniocentesis done? How old are you? Other kids?

I look forward to hearing from you.

David W. Kays, MD
Associate Professor and Chief
Division of Pediatric Surgery
University of Florida

I was still in shock – – I cannot believe that he wrote me back personally.

This was another sign that this was the right doctor. All the other hospitals had “groups” of doctors…hospitals that had programs that were recognized nationally. Yet, the small town doctor performing miracles was so incredible. I started to feel like this is going to be such a tough experience…having someone care this much already about our baby without even knowing us was a really good sign. If we were going to need to travel a long distance to have our baby, this was the type of doctor that I wanted.

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