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Outreach clinics help a family receive care closer to home

Kyliana's story

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Despite most of Heather’s pregnancy being textbook-perfect, her daughter Kyliana spent the first three months of her life in the hospital after being born nine weeks early. It was difficult to be away from their family and community in Prince George. And with each setback, home seemed further and further away.

Eventually, they returned to Prince George where they settled into a routine. Things were going well until Kyliana suddenly became jaundice and couldn’t keep anything down. They were unable to diagnose her locally and sent her to BC Children’s in Vancouver, a nine-hour drive away.

Dr. Rick Schreiber, Kyliana’s gastroenterologist at BC Children’s, broke the news that she had developed biliary atresia, a childhood disease of the liver in which one or more bile ducts don’t work properly.

"There is a very narrow window to diagnose this condition and intervene," Dr. Schreiber said. "Otherwise you are dooming the child to immediate liver transplant at a very young age, which is difficult, or the child may not survive.” 

Fortunately, Kyliana’s timely diagnosis allowed for surgery to repair her insides without requiring a liver transplant. “They did so many things,” says Heather. “They took out her gall bladder, took out her appendix, they kind of rewired her insides. They just did such a good job. We knew she was in good hands.”

After just a week Kyliana was well enough to return to Prince George, although she now has to have bloodwork and ultrasounds twice a year and is on daily medicine to prevent infection. Knowing Kyliana had spent so much of her life away from home, Heather did not relish the thought of long trips to Vancouver for the foreseeable future. She soon learned there was another way for Kyliana to receive care in her home town, thanks to Child Health BC’s outreach clinics.

“When Dr. Schreiber told us he comes up twice a year, I actually cried,” Heather said. “Now I only have to take an afternoon off instead of sometimes a whole week.”

Today, Kyliana is a sassy, energetic three-year old. Heather is certain her experience at BC Children’s Hospital was life-changing.

“BC Children’s Hospital saved her life. Multiple times. I don’t think they could do what they do without the support of donors. And if they couldn’t do what they do, then we might not have our daughter.” — Heather, Kyliana's mom

“When Dr. Schreiber told us he comes up twice a year, I actually cried,” Heather said. “Now I only have to take an afternoon off instead of sometimes a whole week.”

 

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