Stories about: Vascular Anomalies Center (VAC)

Traveling 2,700 miles to save Jesus’s arm

20140203_Jesus-10When you talk to Jesus Barradas, he is like any other 16-year-old boy, into music, soccer, video games and television.

But when the Veracruz, Mexico native raises his left arm, you can see that something isn’t right. The forearm is much larger than his right. His left hand is swollen, the fingers curled into a near-permanent claw shape, and he holds it gingerly, almost cradling it protectively.

Jesus was born with a vascular malformation in his arm called FAVA (fibroadipose vascular anomaly), which keeps blood from draining properly out of the tissues of his forearm. It’s both physically and emotionally painful, and throughout his childhood, it became the source of endless taunting and ridicule.

For years, every doctor who saw Jesus said the only thing they could do was amputate his arm. But Jesus’s parents refused to believe this outcome was inevitable. They kept searching, talking to more doctors, seeking more opinions. Their search finally led them to Boston Children’s Vascular Anomalies Center (VAC), where surgeon Joseph Upton, MD, gave them the best option they’d had in years: hope. 

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Rolensky’s story: saving his heart by fixing his brain

Rolensky

In the fall of last year, a young woman named Gerdline walked into Hospital Saint-Nicholas in Saint-Marc, Haiti, carrying her baby son Rolensky. Only four months old, the boy was in a bad way: thin, breathing rapidly and lethargic, with a bluish tinge to his skin.

Little did Gerdline know as she crossed the hospital threshold that Rolensky’s heart was failing—because of a one-in-a-million blood vessel malformation in his brain. Nor did she know that the two of them would soon be on a plane to Boston, where doctors from across Boston Children’s Hospital would come together around her boy to save his heart by fixing his brain.

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