7-Year-Old Boy's Surgery Delayed Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

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A 7-year-old boy’s transplant surgery is delayed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and his family is hoping he can stay healthy long enough to make it until the rescheduled transplant.

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 said.

The family received a phone call that told them Davidson’s surgery would be postponed. His surgery is considered elective, meaning doctor’s will have to make a decision on whether the surgery needs to be done early only if Davidson’s health worsens.

“Our story’s a nightmare but it’s not even the worst one you could find,” Caryn said.

Doctor Timothy Kane, chief of general and thoracic surgery at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., said they have a backlog of patients and it’s upsetting to have to postpone surgeries. But doctors are in a difficult spot, trying to take care of their families and patients all while trying to prevent the spread of the virus.

Davidson’s parents said the wait is agonizing, but they support their doctor’s decision in delaying the surgery. Dialysis is a stop-gap option for Davidson, but his mother doesn’t want to have to put her son through the treatment at such a young age.

Her concern is hospitals will be bombarded with cases, which would put Davidson’s surgery back even more. And when he does have his surgery, it wouldn’t be good for him to be in the hospital with a lot of COVID-19 patients given that he will be immunocompromised.

The family asks that people listen to medical professionals and stay home.

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