Baby Avan’s Medical Bills

We are in desperate need of help with baby Avan’s medical bills. Doctors have not yet diagnosed him and are still currently doing tests to find out what is wrong with our baby boy.

Avan Emory Lopez was born on October 21, 2021 weighing at 9 lbs 11 oz. As most of you know, it is normal for a newborn to lose weight within the first couple of days after birth, so Avan leaving the hospital at 8 lbs was no worry to us. His first week at home was going well. He was feeding good with no issues. He had a bit of jaundice but doctors said that it would go away within a week or two.

During his 2nd week after birth, Avan started spitting up after his feedings. Doctors kept saying it’s normal for babies to spit up, but I was worried because he would spit up a lot more than what was deemed “normal” and it seemed more like throwing up. We tried many things to help with his throwing up, like changing his nipple flow from 1 to 0 thinking he was drinking too fast. We started feeding him more upright and kept him sitting up for 30 minutes after each feeding.

At 4 weeks old, he was still at 8 lbs, gaining and losing only a few ounces. This is when his doctor finally decided to take this matter seriously. She ordered a stat ultrasound for his stomach to inspect if there were any knots or any other issue, but everything checked out and his stomach was normal. They did blood tests and UTI tests, he was good. They still noticed he had some jaundice, as his skin and the whites of his eyes were a bit yellow. She said his jaundice was mild and nothing to worry about. His doctor prescribed him “Omeprazole” to help with his reflux and keep the milk down. It sort of helped only a little a little bit. Avan still spit up but not as much as he did before. His prescription expired on Thanksgiving day and due to an issue with his insurance, we were unable to get him more medicine. I finally sorted out his insurance problem, but we were unable to get a doctor visit until the middle of December. So his last doctor visit was Nov. 19th and his next visit was on Dec. 15th. Almost a whole month of no doctor visits and no prescribed medicine.

During that time of no doctor visits, we noticed he had kept most of his milk down and didn’t spit up as much as before. We were sure he had gained a bit of wait and were a bit excited to officially see his weight gain at the doctor visit. To our surprise, Avan weighed at 8 lbs 11 oz at 7 weeks! This was bad. He was immediately admitted to the hospital that same day and was hooked up to an IV. They took a lot of blood for tests. My poor baby was pricked with needles so many times.

The doctor said she heard a murmur in his heart so they did an x ray and some ultrasounds of his heart and other organs. There is an abnormality in his heart but it was overall looking good and functioning like it’s suppose to. One of his kidneys is inflamed but mild. So the doctors said he looked good overall. Over the next few days, we stayed in the hospital as they monitored his weight. He would gain some ounces and then the next day he’d lose those ounces. Finally on the 4th day, he made it to 9 lbs! He hadn’t weighed 9 lbs since he was born! This was a milestone for us! We were excited! Doctors said he would need one more day of weight gain and then we could go home!

On the 5th day at the hospital, we were waiting for his doctor to tell us we could go home. Unfortunately, we received some not-so-good news. We knew Avan had jaundice, but we had no idea just how serious it was since his primary care doctor kept telling us not to worry about. Jaundice is a symptom where the skin and whites of the eyes appear yellow due to high levels of bilirubin in the liver. Bilirubin needs to pass through the liver through a duct into the intestine. So because he had high levels of bilirubin, they needed to inspect his liver and the duct for any infections, diseases, etc.

Avan needed to undergo a biopsy of his liver to extract tissue for tests. His biopsy took place the very next day after receiving this news. The surgeon informed us they will be making a small incision on his tummy to get to his liver. They said they will also be inspecting the liver duct to see if he has Biliary Atresia which is a type of rare liver disease. If he had this, they would need to do an emergency surgery to fix this. Only a third of this type of surgery is successful. They would let us know if they needed to do this surgery or not. THANKFULLY HE DID NOT HAVE BILIARY ATRESIA! The biopsy was successful and they did not have any complications. Baby boy was recovering well. They even said his bilirubin levels were going down and he was gaining weight! Amazing news! We were finally discharged from the hospital on the 7th day just in time for Christmas!

However, they still need to run tests on the liver tissue they extracted. The doctors say there is a chance he may have Alagille Syndrome which is a genetic syndrome that affects the liver and other parts of the body, which includes the heart and kidneys, and can also affect the growth. Avan does have a liver issue, his heart has a murmur, his kidney is inflamed, and he’s having troubles gaining weight. So this is what they will be checking for with the liver tissue.

Avan is only 2 months old and has spent so much time at the doctors and the hospital more than I have in my whole life. His medical and hospital bills just keep getting higher and higher and it’s not finished. We currently owe more than $12,000 and this is with insurance. We do not qualify for an assisted payment plan. We are still waiting for his liver tissue test results and even then we still do not know what more hospital and doctor visits he will need. We are desperately asking for help paying off his bills. We are grateful and thankful for any contribution! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Darlene Harris 
Beaumont, CA

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