Will Davis was born with a gastrointestinal condition so severe it threatened his life, symptoms of which began to present themselves shortly after his birth. Doctors monitored him for several hours, but as the hour hand on the clock dragged on, it became clear that Will would need highly specialized care. Barely 24 hours old, Will took his first car trip—an ambulance ride to Boston Children’s Hospital—for complete diagnosis and treatment.
Within hours of his arrival in Boston Will was diagnosed and underwent the first of five surgeries to repair his intestinal malrotation and volvulus—a complex blockage of the digestive tract that leads to tissue necrosis. In cases as severe as Will’s, the condition could be deadly if left untreated.
Treating intestinal malrotation requires multiple surgeries and a good deal of supportive care—hospitalization for the condition can often last for months. In preparation, Will’s father, Gabe, his mother, Megan, and big sister, Chloe, all temporarily moved to Boston so they could be together as a family during his treatment.
Because Will was so young and sick, his health was touch-and-go at times, and there were many difficult days. But through it all Gabe says the way Boston Children’s took care of both his son and his family gave them the strength they needed to pull through. In fact, the level of care they received touched Gabe so deeply that he was inspired to film small vignettes exploring what day-to-day life at the hospital was like for his family.
“The Boston Children’s experience is unlike anything else I had ever encountered and I wanted to capture that in some way,” he says. “I didn’t want to forget what it was like to be here because the memory makes you that much more grateful to be at home, while reminding you of how amazing the people at Boston Children’s are. I also wanted a way to document this for Will.”
As a producer with his own digital media company, shooting video of Will’s treatment came naturally to Gabe. But it wasn’t until Will was discharged and doing well at home that Gabe began to understand why he had shot as much as he had.
“There were so many people involved with Will’s care, from the doctors and nurses to our family and friends who provided us with love and support during the tough times,” he says. “I just wanted a way to say thank you to so many people, for so many different reasons. This video was my way of doing that.”
In addition to thanking friends, family and caregivers, Gabe says the footage he shot will also be an important reminder for his children, connecting them to a time in their lives that will likely fade from their memories as they grow.
“In a sense, all of us will be different people based on those first few months of Will’s life and our time at Boston Children’s,” he says. “I hope the footage I took will help Chloe and Will continually appreciate that part of our family’s history, both now and when they’re older.”
Visit Boston Children’s Hospital’s Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition’s website for more information on GI services we provide. Please see the webpages for Boston Children’s Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation and General Surgery Program, two teams that were instrumental in Will’s care.