By Christina Higginbotham
Thursday, January 10, 2013
MILTON — Nine-month-old Braxton Staples successfully received a liver transplant on New Year’s Eve at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, but his mother said his fight for life is just beginning.
“The liver transplant went well, but five days later we discovered, after an ultrasound, there was clotting in his veins,” said Braxton’s mother, Michelle Frampton.
Monday morning Braxton underwent another set of procedures to promote blood flow to his portal vein, which is imperative to the function of the liver.
Braxton’s health problems have been part of his life from the beginning. Frampton noticed some irregularities in him shortly after he was born.
“He didn’t sleep, he didn’t eat,” Frampton said on a public Facebook page designated to raising awareness of Braxton’s condition.
At just a week old, Braxton was admitted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where they detected Braxton was born without a spleen. The defect is called Heterotaxy Syndrome, which effects four out of every 1 million births. In even more rare circumstances, 10 to 20 percent of those detected with Heterotaxy Syndrome carry a liver disease called Biliary Atresia Spelnic, a defect in which the bile duct between the child’s liver and small intestine is blocked or nonexistent.
Braxton was one of those rare cases and has been undergoing surgery since he was merely eight weeks old.
“We don’t know how long this will work, we don’t know a lot of things about Braxton, so now we wait,” Frampton said Tuesday morning from Boston Children’s Hospital. She has been staying there with her son.
Surgeries are far from over for Braxton as he will face inevitable liver transplants through out his life. The average transplanted liver needs replacing every 10 years, according to Frampton. Open-heart surgery may be in store for Braxton by the time he reaches six, due to a hole in his heart that is too big to close on its own. That defect threatens the tot’s life with risk of stroke, right-side heart failure and the overflow of blood to his frail lungs. Braxton’s mother also said a hernia had been discovered in one of his major surgeries.
Due to Braxton’s inability to fight infections, he has to remain close to home and within proximity to Boston Children’s Hospital.
“A common cold could kill him,” Frampton said.
In an effort to help raise the money for the liver transplant, Frampton and her friends have organized a fundraiser called Hope for Braxton to help with endless expenses. Katelyn Day, a friend of Frampton’s, mentioned on Tuesday that Braxton’s mother set a small goal of $500 to be raised for her son.
“She didn’t want to disappoint herself if the money did not come in,” Day said.
The donations as of Wednesday topped $1,400.
Braxton’s mother remains by her son’s side as much as the Boston Children’s Hospital allows, which leaves Braxton’s father, Joey Staples, to support the family on one income. Donations in any amount are welcomed. Donors may choose to remain anonymous if they wish. To see the fundraiser’s process or to donate, visit the website at http://www.giveforward.com/hopeforbraxton. A Facebook page has also been set up, which Frampton has been updating frequently, www.facebook.com/hopeforbraxton. The fundraiser has a set end date of March 26.
“Through all his pain, he always seems so happy,” Frampton said.