On the day young Ezra Carter was released from his week-long stay at McLane Children’s Hospital, he was walking down the hall in his hospital gown. This young 2 year-old boy had endured emergency brain surgery just days before and […]
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Young Boy Braves Brain Surgery, Meant for Bigger Things

by Jill Taylor on September 23, 2013

in Patient and Staff Stories

Ezra-1On the day young Ezra Carter was released from his week-long stay at McLane Children’s Hospital, he was walking down the hall in his hospital gown. This young 2 year-old boy had endured emergency brain surgery just days before and was leaving everyone in amazement with his progress.

As he paraded the halls, he saw his six-foot tall pediatric surgeon Danny Little, MD get down on one knee. Down at his level and looking him in the eye he asked Ezra, “What are you doing little guy?” and Ezra said, “I’m walking.” Dr. Little gave the boy a hug and said, “Now look at you!”

Ezra’s mom thought the surgeon was going to cry. Dr. Little asked to take a video of him, and Ezra introduced himself with his robot voice, “Hi, I’m Ezra Carter.” Together they laughed and smiled to think how far he’d come. This short exchange spoke volumes of Ezra’s experience.

‘All I Heard Was Brain Surgery’

Ezra, son of Simona Sanchez and Clarence Carter of Waco, took a fall and was rushed from a Waco hospital to McLane Children’s Hospital by ambulance where they performed emergency brain surgery to drain blood from his fractured skull.

“I literally fell into pieces. All I heard was brain surgery,” says Ms. Sanchez. “I knew that it was the right decision, but it’s just you aren’t prepared for that, and it was very scary.”

The decision for brain surgery was made after neurosurgeon Charles J. Wright, MD and his team met Ezra in the McLane Children’s Emergency Department and ran a CT scan finding an expanding blot clot compressing the brain. Despite this chaotic time, Ms. Sanchez felt less worry as the staff cared for her son.

‘He Saved My Baby’s Life

As his team rapidly prepped for surgery, Ms. Sanchez was feeling anxious. She talked with a number of the doctors including Dr. Wright, Dr. Little, a pediatric anesthesiologist, Dr. Paul Dillon, and pediatric critical care specialist, Dr. Richard Bonner. Each one brought unique expertise to help Ezra.

McLane Children’s Hospital is the only verified pediatric trauma center between Dallas and Austin. This designation shows that we meet the highest national standards and can provide a ready team of specialists to respond to the most critical situations.

“When I think about the surgeons it just makes me feel so grateful and warm inside,” says Ms. Sanchez. “They treated him like he was their own child.”

Doctors came out every 30 minutes to keep the family updated during the five-hour procedure. At this point, Ms. Sanchez had the support from her family and Ezra’s father. Especially touching was the hospital Chaplain, Danny Tomlinson, who stayed with Ms. Sanchez and family until 2 a.m. All were gathered together in prayer on behalf of the young boy.

After the surgery, Dr. Wright came out to tell the family his surgery was successful and they had stopped the bleeding.

“I gave Dr. Wright the biggest hug, because it’s like he saved my baby’s life,” says Ms. Sanchez. “You can’t put that into words. I told him, ‘I just want to hug you. I feel so grateful that you did that.’”

‘My Heart Just Dropped to My Stomach’

After the surgery, Ezra’s mom and dad were the first to see him. He was on heavy medication, bandaged up, hooked to machines and an IV, and it was hard for the parents to hold back the tears.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I walked in that room,” says Ms. Sanchez. “My heart just dropped to my stomach. He heard us talking and he tried to respond to us and he couldn’t. It was so hard to see my baby like that.”

The nurses took special interest in Ezra, which gave comfort to his nervous mom. They helped her be strong during this stressful time when she could hardly sleep, eat or think clearly.

“Ezra had a lot of nurses over the five days, and they checked on me every day,” says Ms. Sanchez. “They knew who I was, knew my name and knew how I felt.”

‘I Thought All This Was Going to Set Him Back’

As Ezra was recovering in the hospital from surgery, he impressed everyone with his progress.

When he woke up after five days of being sedated, Ezra remembered everything that had happened. He thought it was just the next day and requested juice and chocolate milk. His mother cried every time he sat up on his own, or held a spoon. He especially had to relearn how to walk.

One day as Ezra’s grandmother came to check on him at the hospital, he just took off running down the hall as soon as he saw her.

“He was like ‘brain surgery? Haha!’” says Ms. Sanchez. “He had a glow all around him and it was the most awesome feeling in the world to see my son running again,” she says. “He fought through that and came out like it was nothing. I’m proud he’s my son. I’m just so happy he made it through.”

Ezra continued with therapy and treatment sessions were shortened by two months because of his positive response. He also saw a Scott & White ophthalmologist who examined Ezra’s eyes as they transformed from a dazed glare to the sparkle he always had.

“I thought all this going on was going to set him back,” says Ms. Sanchez. “It was a great miracle of God. Thanks to the doctors and nurses who were all so great with him. People who didn’t even know him were praying for him.”

‘He’s Our Little Miracle’

Ezra, who was nearly 3 at the time of surgery, is now 4 years old and just started Pre-K in August. It is his first time learning outside home, where he’s already mastered his colors, shapes, numbers and even some Spanish.

“Ezra showed me he’s meant for bigger and greater things,” says Ms. Sanchez. “Ezra was not meant to go anywhere. He’s our little miracle.”

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