One For the Books


“Your baby has no kidneys.”  That’s what Nicola and Clifford Vazquez were told when a prenatal ultrasound showed an abnormal mass where their baby’s kidneys should be. Just halfway through the pregnancy, they were also told that their baby would die shortly after birth. they were devastated.  The Vazquezes decided to get a second opinion, which ultimately led them to CHOC children’s pediatric urologist Antoine Khoury, M.D.  He saw things differently.

When Madison Vazquez was born last November, Dr. Khoury and his team were ready and waiting. Dr. Khoury used tiny, minimally invasive instruments to drain accumulated fluid that appeared to explain the abnormal  images on the ultrasound. But he sensed there was more to the picture. He decided to look further.

ar-2012-one-for-the-books2What Dr. Khoury found was a structural abnormality that was undetectable by ultrasound. It explained everything.  No one in the operating room had ever seen anything like it. But Dr. Khoury and his team used a combination of reconstructive techniques to correct the newly discovered abnormality. Their ingenuity  in the operating room saved Madison from having a more extensive surgical procedure that very same day.

“The first condition was so glaringly abnormal that it masked the primary condition,” Dr. Khoury said.  “We’ve checked the literature and haven’t found reports of anyone else using the combination of techniques that we brainstormed that day. We are submitting it for publication in hopes it may save other children from having more extensive procedures.”

Looking back over their ordeal, Nicola and Clifford have already found a silver lining. “If we had not gotten the misdiagnosis before Madison was born, we would not have met Dr. Khoury when we did, and he saved her life,” Nicola said.

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