Darren's Page
My Heroes


At the Hospital | Photo Album | Titanium Rib Project | My Heroes

My heroes:
My mama
My mama has always been with me.   When they flew me from the little hospital right after I was born to the NICU at Rockford IL, my mama left the hospital and drove straight there.   She stayed right by my crib for days, touching my hand because she couldn't hold me, telling me everything would be all right.   Every time I had to have some procedure or other, my mama would have the doctors and nurses explain it to her - then she would tell me what was going to happen and not to be afraid because everything would be okay.   Sometimes the doctors would be mad at her and tell her not to get attached, but my mama told me not to believe them because she knew I was going to be all right and my mama would never lie to me.   I love my mama.
My grandaunt Dawn Webb
Auntie Dawn saw an article in a Long Beach CA newspaper about a titanium rib implant performed on a little boy by Dr. David Skaggs.  The little boy's congenital anomalies closely matched my own so she cut out the article and sent it to my grandma, who then sent it to my mama, who then started on the long road of trying to get other orthopaedic surgeons to investigate.

My Heroes (in order of their appearance in my life):
Dr. David Skaggs, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon in Los Angeles. 
Dr. Skaggs was my mama's first hope for me after she read the article in the Long Beach newspaper.  Dr. Skaggs took the time to answer e-mails and look over my x-rays (even though I wasn't his patient) and talk with the orthopaedic surgeon in Chicago about the titanium rib project.
Dr. Sullivan, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at University of Chicago Children's Hospital
Dr. Sullivan is the first of my treating doctors who listened to my mama when she talked about the titanium rib implant.  He talked with Dr. Skaggs who put him in contact with Dr. Campbell.  Since then it's been full steam ahead!
Dr. Robert Campbell, Jr., pediatric orthpaedic surgeon in San Antonio, Texas
Dr. Campbell came up with the titanium rib that saves so many lives, including mine.   You can find out more about him on the link on myTitanium Rib page, and I'll add more here when my mama tells me more about him.  My mama always tells me everything.    Dr. Campbell was very pleased with my good health because he said he seldom gets to operate on a healthy child - generally by the time he gets to treat them, they're very, very ill.
Dr. Melvin Smith, pediatric thoracic and general surgeon, University of Texas Health Services Center
Dr. Smith really began the whole titanium rib project when he asked Dr. Campbell for assistance to help a patient with Jarcho Levin Syndrome.   Dr. Campbell came up with a solution and together they have expanded on that original idea.   It has become the Titanium Rib Project, seven doctors and hospitals in the US are now authorized by the FDA to perform the operation (soon to be eight), and many, many lives have been saved as the result.
Drs. Smith and Campbell came to Chicago from Texas to do the surgery in December 2002 that gave me ribs and a rib cage.  I have to go to Texas, though, for the implant surgery.  I think it will be in November 2003.