La PORTE – To some, it would be just a book.
But to a child at the hospital, it’s a calming distraction — a bit of relief and entertainment from what is usually a scary experience. La Porte native Broc Davis knows all about that.
Broc, 10, visits La Porte Hospital frequently, and has since he was a baby. Born with a rare genetic mutation that causes him to be severely susceptible to just about any illness or germ imaginable, Broc has had his fair share of hospital stays that produce, at times, severe boredom. That’s one reason he decided to donate a book to the hospital’s Children’s Area in the main lobby. He didn’t want other kids to be bored, either.
“We come so often for his infusions, treatments, and emergencies that we now have it down to a science,” said mom Kerrigan Davis. The hospital has a Play Station game unit on a mobile cart to wheel into their room whenever Broc is admitted, and the Davis’ have bought an extra controller and more kid-friendly games so brother Mark, 11, can play, too.
The journey through Broc’s illnesses has been a long and complex one for the Davis family. Since birth, Broc has endured countless major surgeries – including on the heart and spine. Kerrigan, her husband Mark, and the boys are no strangers to long trips to Indianapolis for special treatments at Riley Hospital for Children. When the trips became too much for the family when Broc was a toddler, Kerrigan and Mark – together with their La Porte Physician Network Pediatrician Dr. Usama Moustafa - approached La Porte Hospital and asked for help.
“We needed to find a local hospital that would be willing to deliver Broc’s treatments close to home. The doctors and nurses at the time all worked with us to develop the proper protocols and processes. It hasn’t been easy, and there are hiccups from time to time, but overall, we are so very fortunate to have the staff at La Porte Hospital who have known Broc since he was two years old, and who know exactly what we need when we need it,” Kerrigan said.
More than 40 percent of the staff at La Porte Hospital have been there for ten years or more, meaning there’s a good chance that when the Davis family arrives, hugs will be given.
“The people in the lab are like our family at this point. There is a trust level there,” Kerrigan said.
During a recent visit to the hospital for treatment, Broc was visited by hospital CEO Ashley Dickinson, and Chief Nursing Office Anetra Jones, to thank him for his book donation.
“This story warms my heart because it’s what being a community hospital is all about,” Dickinson said. “So many of our staff members have been through the ups and downs with Broc over the years, and he has come to be part of our hospital family. If you mention his name, everyone’s face lights up. Even through his trials, he donated a book for other children to use. That’s amazing. Kerrigan and Mark are the ultimate advocates for their son, and we are privileged to be part of their journey, and to take care of this family in our community.”
Curious about what happens to all his lab samples when they’re taken, Broc and his brother Mark, along with Kerrigan, had a special tour of the hospital lab as well that day.
Inside the microbiology department, two lab associates knew Broc’s name well, having processed so many tests of his over the years. They enjoyed meeting him in person.
Kerrigan said she hopes that by sharing a bit of Broc’s story, others who are chronically ill may find hope, and even healing.
“His condition is so rare. Maybe someone who is having the same challenges will see this and say, ‘This sounds familiar,’ and we will be able to connect and support each other,” she said.
Kerrigan keeps a blog about Broc called http://brocsjourney.blogspot.com/, and welcomes followers and questions. “Dealing with Broc’s health problems has made us stronger as a family,” she said.
Broc, brother Mark, and mom Kerrigan Davis have conditions called 16p11.2 Duplication and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 3. They are auto-immune disorders. In addition, Broc has a rare mutation of the LTBP4 gene. Neither family nor any of their doctors throughout the nation have been able to find anyone else in the world with that condition. For more information, or to connect with the Davis family, visit http://brocsjourney.blogspot.com/ .