Joseph was just one pound, 5 ounces when he was born.
He made his debut unexpectedly, 16 weeks early. Joseph spent 6 months on a ventilator before his lungs were finally strong enough to function with just the assistance of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. With CPAP – which is a mask positioned to help air blown in at a constant pressure – although Joseph was doing all of his own breathing, it helped to keep his lungs open between breaths.
Little Joseph underwent several surgeries during his 8 month stay at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. One of them was laser Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) surgery at 3 months old, which is needed to prevent vision loss or blindness. Dr. Rogers in Opthamology performed the surgery.
Early on, Dr. Rogers wasn’t sure if he would be able to save Joseph’s vision. Through it all, his parents held on to hope.
“Nationwide Children’s means hope, support and family. Our family will forever be grateful for NCH. During those 8 months, we got to know so many special people, from other families, to nurses, and environmental service staff members. People who stood next to us when we were going through such hard times. People who healed our precious little Joseph and who sat by his bedside when my husband and I had to go home to rest. When Joseph was born, the knowledge and expertise of everyone involved gave us hope that despite the challenges ahead, Joseph had a chance,” says Joseph’s mom, Erin.
With 254 beds dedicated to the care of newborns, Nationwide Children’s Hospital provides the most comprehensive care for newborns in the region. Our Level III Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICU) and our Newborn Special Care Unit (NSCU) specialize in the management of babies with complex birth defects, severe prematurity and complications of pregnancy, labor and delivery.
Today, Joseph is a healthy, happy, goofy 4-year-old who continues to receive treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is nearsighted and wears bifocals, or his “magic glasses,” as he calls them. For the past 2 years, Joseph has had to have a growth hormone shot 6 days a week, but he never complains. Until recently, Joseph was in the negative 3rd percentile. But today he is now on the chart in the 1.5 percentile.
When you meet Joseph and see the ever-present smile on his face, it’s apparent how much he loves life. He’s often told by many that he gives the best, most sincere hugs. He loves to meet new people and can’t wait to share his smiles, sense of humor and funny faces with all of the marathon athletes.