Ten-Month-Old to Receive Landmark Surgery

Eighty thousand people are waiting for organ transplants, but sadly only 5,000 will receive the organs the need to survive. For babies, the odds are higher. But one ten-month-old baby from Thunderbolt is trying to beat the odds. We first introduced you to Mason Morgan a few weeks ago, when dozens of people turned out to donate blood for the little boy. It helped him, but now he faces a new battle, one that could take or help save his life.

Mason, you see, is missing close to 90 percent of his bowels.

"The average baby is born with about 20 feet of bowel. When Mason was born, he had seven  inches, so he's missing a lot," said Mason's mother, Jessica.

Mason has short bowel syndrome. Before he was born, his bowels formed on the outside of his body. Usually this can be corrected with surgery, but Mason's were so twisted, doctors had to take most of them out. The first five months of Mason's life were spent in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Pittsburgh, barely clinging to life.

"I don't know any other way, this is what we're used to," said Jessica. "We've been in the hospital the whole time."

And if that weren't enough, medicines to keep Mason healthy and alive for his bowel surgery have damaged his liver, now adding another organ Mason will need a transplant for.

"It's a lot of stress," said his grandmother, Nancy LaBoy. "But he's worth all of it, he's just a joy to be around."

But now, there's a chance to give Mason a little more time. This afternoon, doctors at Memorial Health will perform the first surgery of its kind in Savannah, lengthening Mason's bowels and giving him time to wait for a transplant. But the surgery isn't without its risks.

"His liver is five times the size that it should be," said Jessica. "So we're worried about bleeding, we're worried about infection from the bowel, so how he decides to come out of surgery is going to be the hardest part."

"That's what this surgery is, it's a chance to try something that may work," said Nancy. "Because without it, he's not going to make it."

It's something family members don't want to think about.

"Give it to God," said Nancy. "That's all we can do, and pray."

While today's surgery could correct Mason's bowels for now, he may still need a transplant in the future. Those are performed only at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.

If you would like to help, the family has set up an account in Mason's name at Bank of America, 2153 E. Victory Drive in Savannah.

Reported by: Melanie Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com