Warning: A photo of the baby might be disturbing to some viewers.
A Texas 5-month-old who captured the attention of people around the world after he was born without most of his skin is slated to undergo surgery this week.
The boy, Ja’bari Gray, has skin missing on his arms and torso as well as part of his head and legs. Researchers used his own cells to grow new skin at a lab in Massachusetts, Fox26 reported.
“They grow and divide making a very thin sheet about four-to-eight cells thick across the bottom of the flasks that we grow them in,” Dr. John Hopper, chief medical officer at Vericel Corporation, told Fox26 this week.
He added: “We have 24 hours from when it leaves the controlled environment here in Cambridge to when it should be placed on the patient.”
Ja’bari has been in the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston since April. He was born on New Year’s Day, 2019.
It’s not clear what his condition is.
Priscilla Maldonado is pleased that he will undergo surgery.
“I think that’s going to be one of the main things for him,” she said. “When his eyes are open, he gets to put the voices to the actual physical features together. It’s probably going to comfort him a lot more.”
In mid-May, she said that he’s been showing signs of improvement.
“Every single doctor that’s seen him are like, ‘Wow, he has improved.’ For only being here a month and a couple of days, he’s shown nothing but improvement,” she told ABC13.
The report noted that his eyelids are fused shut due to his condition.
In a GoFundMe update, his mother said that the “whole time being pregnant everything was going good then an ultrasound showed that he wasn’t gaining weight so they decided to induced me at 37 weeks.” She added that “when I went the morning to get induced his heart rate was dropping so they end up doing an emergency c section.”
She continued, “Once they got him out the noticed he was born without his skin his eyes are fused shut which will require surgery to open them, he was born at 3 pounds. He is requiring a breathing machine that is breathing for him, he has passed away twice and the Drs have brought him back, the skin disorder he has is so very rare that no Dr has ever seen it before and is very hard to treat with lil to no info at all (sic).”
The skin condition has made it “very hard for us as a family,” she added, saying that it is “hard to go to work just worrying about” the boy’s health.
The ABC13 report said his family is living out of a hotel in Houston as the boy gets treatment.
“Each and every day is a blessing that he is still fighting to live on this Earth, and donation big or small will be such a blessing to us thank you and keep following his fight,” she continued.