MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Brayden Vance, age 11 from Jolo in McDowell County, is like many boys his age. He likes to play football and spend time with his three brothers and sisters. However, a kidney condition he had since birth put him on the sidelines.
When Jennifer Vance was pregnant with Brayden, doctors noticed an abnormal amount of fluid on his kidney. After he was born, Brayden’s doctors discovered that the ureter connecting his kidney to his bladder was blocked. He was given antibiotics, and his mother was assured that the condition would resolve itself as he grew.
Over the next eight years, Brayden would undergo six surgeries and see doctors at hospitals in Charleston, Virginia, and North Carolina. Because the family’s insurance determined a procedure to remove a temporary stent that had been inserted to allow proper ureter function was not medically necessary, he began to develop kidney stones and was in pain that kept him from living a normal life.
“Brayden would beg us to take him to the emergency room to get a catheter so he wouldn’t be in pain anymore,” Jennifer Vance said. “After his experiences at hospitals and the trauma he had experienced as a result, you know it had to be bad for a kid his age to ask us to take him to the emergency room.”
Brayden’s doctor in Charleston referred him to Osama Al-Omar, M.D., chief of pediatric urology at WVU Medicine Children’s, because of his reputation for treating difficult cases. After performing new scans, Dr. Al-Omar identified a surgery to correct the defect in Brayden’s ureter and to remove the stent and kidney, ureteral, and bladder stones that had developed.
“His kidney, ureteral, and bladder stone burden was very large,” Al-Omar said. “We knew we would have to take a different approach to break them up and remove the retained stent in order to save his kidney and get him back to his normal life quickly.”
Two teams, led by Al-Omar and Chad Morley, M.D., director of minimally invasive urology and stone disease, were formed to endoscopically approach and remove the stones and the stent simultaneously from above and below, greatly decreasing the time needed to perform an already lengthy surgery.
“Our goal was to improve Brayden’s quality of life by removing the stent and the stones it caused,” Al-Omar said. “The success of this procedure meant that he didn’t have to be on pain medications or worry about recurrent infections anymore. Because we have access to the most advanced technologies and experienced surgeons at WVU Medicine, we were able to resolve the issue that had been affecting Brayden for the last two years.”
Now, Brayden is back to doing the things he loves. He plays football with his siblings and has the energy and stamina of most kids his age. His mother says that he looks forward to playing football with his teammates at school again.
“Brayden is like a completely different kid now,” Jennifer Vance said. “We couldn’t have asked for better care than we received at WVU Medicine Children’s. The doctors and nurses were just great, and we even got to meet (WVU football players) Will Grier and David Sills while we were there. Brayden is a big WVU football fan, so that really meant a lot to him.”
Brayden will continue to be monitored to make sure his kidney continues function properly, but he has been healthy since his surgery.
WVU Medicine Children’s – currently located on the sixth floor of J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, WVU Medicine’s flagship hospital – provides maternal, infant, and pediatric care for West Virginia and the surrounding region, giving care to high-risk mothers, premature infants, and children with life-threatening conditions through adolescence to adulthood. In 2020, WVU Medicine Children’s will move into a new tower and ambulatory care center to be attached to Ruby Memorial. For more information, including ways to support the $60-million capital campaign for Children’s new home, visit wvumedicine.org/childrens.