COVENTRY â€” Firefighters, family and friends throughout Coventry have united to help raise funds for Central Coventry Firefighter Joe Bourquin and Amanda McKoon, whose unborn baby, Joe Jr., was diagnosed with Spina Bifida.
Bourquin explained that in February, Amanda, whoâ€™s a part-time E.M.T. for Western Coventry Fire Department, went to the doctors for an ultrasound when the doctor diagnosed Joe Jr. with Myelomeningocele, or Spina Bifida.
The developmental disorder can include such conditions as swelling of the brain or possible loss of mobility.
Bourquin said that he and Amanda discussed the option of her undergoing a fairly new surgical procedure, which is done in five hospitals in the United States.
They decided it was the best choice for their baby and at 21 weeks, Amanda had the surgery at the Childrenâ€™s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
He explained that the doctor opened Amanda up and did the surgical procedure on the baby while it was still a fetus. Doing the surgery on the fetus was a success and the doctor was able to do a Spina Bifida fetal correction.
â€śItâ€™s not meant to be a cure,â€ť Bourquin said. â€śWhat itâ€™s meant to do is improve the babyâ€™s quality of life as he grows up, it presents further spinal damage.â€ť
He explained that since the surgery in March, Amanda has been staying in Philadelphia at a hotel until the due date on July 16.
â€śWhen she recovered after the surgery the hospital discharged her,â€ť he said. â€śBut the doctor said she has to stay within 10 minutes of the hospital at all times in case of premature birth. So her staying down there is a matter of life and death.â€ť
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