Doctors say promising news for baby born without skin

HOUSTON (FOX 26) -- There is promising news concerning the baby boy born without skin, who FOX 26 News introduced you to over the weekend. He has now been evaluated by a team of Houston doctors.

When the family arrived in Houston from San Antonio on Friday, the last thing they heard from their hometown doctors wasn't good. Texas Children's Hospital physicians in Houston are saying something different.

In the newborn intensive care unit at Texas Children's Hospital, four of Houston's top doctors examined young Ja'bari Gray.

"There is hope," explains Priscilla Maldonado, Ja'bari's mother. "They said they promise, they give us their word, they will not give up on Ja'bari."

Ja'bari's parents say the four physicians are now planning to do surgery on the three-month-old child to open his airway, in hopes of removing him from life support and having him breathe on his own.

"They're going to make an incision on his throat and they're going to be very careful, because there are a lot of veins, nerves, arteries," describes Maldonado. "So it's going to be a risky procedure, but they're willing to take the chance."

Ja'bari was born on New Year's Day with his eyelids fused together and no skin from his neck down. Skin has now grown on his legs and over much of his body, but as skin began to grow, the way he was positioned and having his fingers and toes bandaged together caused a different set of problems.

"He was in a chin-to-chest position which made his airway bend," adds Maldonado. "They did have him laying in the fetal position so his neck did grow together. His fingers did fuse together. The same thing with his toes, they fused together."

After Ja'bari's chin grew to his chest, San Antonio doctors told the family, "There was nothing else for them to do for our child and the best thing to do was to unplug him," says Maldonado. Instead, the parents searched for a different hospital to help. Texas Children's in Houston was the only one to agree to treat their baby.

"I feel much better," says Maldonado. "It's such a relief just knowing there's hope."

After the specialists perform the surgery to open Ja'bari's airway, the plan is to start skin grafts to cover the areas of the three-month-old baby's body where skin still hasn't grown. The Houston doctors are also trying to figure out why the baby was born with this condition.