Wyatt Brownson defies odds to celebrate first birthday | SummitDaily.com

Wyatt Brownson defies odds to celebrate first birthday

GOLDEN – Wyatt Brownson has defied the odds and will turn 1 today.

The Golden boy, whose father owns a business in Breckenridge, was born with biliary atresia, a fatal disease in which the bile ducts close and trap bile in the liver. Without treatment, the liver fails, and the patient dies. Bile also helps the body digest fat.

“Fifteen years ago, these kids didn’t live,” said Wyatt’s paternal grandmother, Carol Burger, who lives in Frisco. “And if this isn’t successful, he’ll still need a liver transplant.”

According to Burger, one in every 20,000 infants is born with biliary atresia, and 75 to 80 percent of children who undergo surgery for the disease still have to have liver transplants sometime in their lives. But doctors must diagnose the disease before the infant is three months old or, usually, the child will die within the year. Those who have the surgery have a 90 percent chance of survival.

Wyatt’s parents, Eric and Dot, lived in Summit County from 1988 to 1992; Eric still operates Sweet Homes of Colorado.

Doctors delivered Wyatt three weeks early via Caesarean section. The infant appeared to be a cranky, but otherwise healthy, boy. Eight weeks later, his pediatrician, Dr. Ron Meyer of Denver, noticed the boy was listless, jaundiced and had high liver enzyme levels. The baby was referred to a liver specialist.

“It was the most horrible thing that’s ever happened to us,” Dot said. “I thought, “I’m going to lose him.’ But he’s thriving and growing. That’s all you can hope for with these kids.”

Two weeks later, surgeons at the Denver Children’s Hospital Pediatric Liver Clinic resectioned part of the infant’s small intestine and fashioned new bile ducts. Liver enzymes returned to normal levels, and the boy has been thriving since. Doctors have weaned him from a half-dozen medications to one, and pediatricians say the toddler is physically and developmentally on track.

“He’s doing wonderfully,” Burger said. “I’m hoping this is definitive and that he’ll never need a transplant.”

The family is sponsoring a golf tournament to benefit the liver clinic. The event is set for June 20 at Canterbury Golf Course in Parker. For more information, call Eric Brownson at (303) 278-2480.

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