Baby born premature with rare illness that leaves intestines outside his body

4:54 PM, Jul 22, 2010   |    comments
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By Sharon Stevens

St. Louis, MO (KSDK) -- He's only two days old, but already a Belleville newborn is making news.

Little Mason Otten has gastroschesis, meaning he was born with his intestines on the outside of his body. The birth defect was discovered while he was still in his mother's womb.

Doctors at St. Louis Children's Hospital say Mason's ailment is a rarity; one in every 4,000 babies is born with gastroschesis.

Mason's parents found out when his mom was a little more than three months pregnant. The condition means there's a hole in the stomach wall that allows the abdominal contents to be outside of the body.  There's no explanation for what causes the ailment.

After talking with doctors at Children's and doing their own research, Kurt and Tina Otten can speak with some authority about what's going on with their first-born child.

Hospital officials say it won't be long before Mason's intestines are inside of his body where they belong but it will be a few months before he can go home with his mom and dad.

Once the organs are in and he's all sewn up, Mason will still need a feeding tube and perhaps other special treatments. Hernia surgery later in life is also a possibility. Whatever happens, the Ottens are documenting the experience.

Mason was born premature and weighs just four pounds-four ounces. The Ottens say Mason's room is ready; it's painted and furnished.

By early accounts, the surgical team at Children's Hospital says it looks like little Mason is going to be just fine.


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