A 7-year-old boy whose transplant procedure was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak is on the mend after finally having the life-saving surgery.
In September, Davidson Alagno was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease, and doctors told his family he would need a transplant to survive. About a month later the family found out his mother, Caryn Alagno, was a match and could donate her kidney.
Originally, the boy’s surgery was scheduled for the summer because the transplant would basically “turn off” his immune system and being at home instead of at school would help keep him safe. But then, the global pandemic of COVID-19 happened.
“We had this situation under control. We had a plan, we had options – and all we had to do was get to and through transplant. But coronavirus, of course, changed all that,” Caryn Alagno told News4 in March.
In April, the family got a call from Johns Hopkins that the surgery would be in July. Davidson’s parents were relieved, but anxious.
"A lot can happen in coronavirus time in three months. We also had to hope he didn’t get sick in those intervening weeks. Thankfully, he didn’t," Caryn Alagno said.
She and her son went in for surgery on July 6.
"It was pretty paralyzing, to be honest with you. As my wife walked into one operating room, my son going into another and then all of a sudden I'm completely alone with my thoughts and a tremendous amount of emotion," Davidson's father David Alagno said.
The surgery was a success, but complications forced Davidson to go under the knife two more times. COVID19 safety protocols meant Caryn and David could only see him one at a time.
"You're in the hospital, your child has an organ transplant and you and your family can't be together. That was really rough," Caryn Alagno said.
After three surgeries in 10 days, Davidson was finally ready to go home.
"The morning that we left he put on a Star Wars t-shirt and ate some ice cream and I said, 'Oh there’s my kid. He looks like Davidson to me,'" she said.
Davidson is steadily improving, but his immune system is severely compromised.
While plenty has changed during the pandemic, his parent’s message to the public hasn't: protect each other.
"Wearing a mask is not that difficult. Going under anesthesia for three surgeries in 10 days - that’s difficult, and he’s 7," Caryn Alagno said