Carter_Lipscomb Photo
County
Etowah County
 
Feature Story
The road has been long for Carter Lipscomb and his parents, Allen and Jessica, but they’re thankful it led them to Children’s of Alabama.

Carter was born at 24 weeks with weak lungs. He was placed on a ventilator and diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a chronic lung disease that commonly affects preemies. After several close calls of nearly losing Carter, the Lipscombs decided to move him to Children’s. “We knew Carter wasn’t leaving the NICU any time soon, so we knew that moving him to Children’s would be best,” Jessica said. “And that turned out to be the best decision we could have made.”

Carter was under heavy sedation and ventilated when he arrived at Children’s. His doctor, neonatologist Carl Coghill, M.D., placed him instead on a NAVA ventilator, which allows patients to control the number and depth of their own respirations. Carter was much more comfortable on the NAVA ventilator, allowing him to come off narcotics and sedatives. As a result, he became more alert and interactive with improvement in his ventilator needs and oxygen levels.

“He was much more alert and happy,” Jessica said. “It was absolutely incredible how quickly that made a change with Carter.”

Carter’s care team also inserted a tracheal tube and a G-tube to help transport air to and from the lungs, and deliver nutrition directly to his stomach. “It was miraculous because that let Carter come to life,” Jessica said. “When that was done, he was able to develop so much more. All of a sudden, he woke up and started improving.”

Doctors continue to wean Carter from the ventilator every other day. He has made such progress that he’s expected to graduate from the NICU to regular inpatient care. He is one step closer to going home for the very first time and his developmental growth has surpassed expectations. “He smiles all the time, he takes a toy and moves it hand to hand, and he tracks you moving around the room,” Jessica said. “He does so many things and it’s truly incredible. He has come so far, and we credit that to the amazing physical and occupational therapists at Children’s.”

While Carter may never grow out of the BPD (he has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy), his parents know that whatever happens, he is receiving the best care possible. “I can’t say enough about Children’s,” Jessica said. “The nurses and doctors care so much about Carter, but they are also there for us as parents. It’s important to have people who understand what you’re going through and are there to support you. They are your family away from home. Right now, it is Carter’s home and they love him as if they are his family. It’s a beautiful thing to see.”