Owen’s Radiothon Story

Born and raised in Calgary, Jessica never gave the Alberta Children’s Hospital much thought. Now it’s the most important thing in her and her husband’s lives next to Owen. At just 10 months old, their little boy has spent more than half his life in this hospital, much of it on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Jessica had a textbook pregnancy until delivery. It’s called a placenta abruption – when the life-giving organ detaches from the uterus, thus depriving the baby of oxygen, and it changed everything.

Owen came into the world unresponsive, and mom and dad watched as a team worked for 23 long minutes to bring him back.

He was saved, though he suffered significant injuries from the abruption. He and mom were taken straight away to the PICU at Alberta Children’s Hospital. He suffered many seizures within his first days, and on day 5 he was put on dialysis to help his body perform the functions his failing kidneys would not. 

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On his 10th day he underwent surgery to repair a perforated bowel. Later he began reacting to the blood pressure medication his body needed. His airway and tongue swelled and he couldn’t breathe. Owen was rushed to PICU several times for intubation and assisted breathing. His reactions did not let up and he cycled through a series of intubations until it was clear he needed a tracheostomy.

A baby’s place is at home with their family, so caregivers across the hospital, including the donor-funded KidSIM program, worked with mom and dad for weeks of intense training on everything from dialysis and tracheostomy care, to administering medication and caring for his feeding tube.

Little Owen made it home four months ago and he quickly began to thrive. His tracheostomy was recently removed and the feeding tube is next. He’s a happy little guy and, as mom says, a big flirt. He isn’t out of the woods – Owen will require a kidney transplant. Right now he needs to grow and gain weight, and in his corner he has mom, dad, and a team of hospital caregivers cheering him on.

Mom says she doesn’t know where they’d be without the team here at Alberta Children’s Hospital, and she’s thankful for the care and training that allowed her family to go home.


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