Ryan wants to be a surgeon when he grows up. He also wants be a nurse. His mom, Negar, says, “He just wants to help kids feel better.”

Ryan has had a lot of experience in a medical environment. He was born prematurely with severe short bowel syndrome, which means his short intestines were unable to absorb enough nutrition from food. “He had his first surgery at two days old at Children’s National Hospital and his second surgery at one month old,” Negar recalls. “It was a very scary time. He weighed less than five pounds.”

Doctors transferred Ryan’s care from our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to our Intestinal Rehabilitation Program. He was released at 4 months old.

“It was scary taking him out of the hospital without the monitors and machines,” says Negar. Her mother learned to care for Ryan’s central feeding line (which bypasses the gastrointestinal tract) and his skin. She also learned how to administer his medications and feed him daily. She taught Negar along the way. “Little by little, with help from our doctors, things got better.”

Ryan has continued to visit our Intestinal Rehabilitation Program. He wants to be just like his care team when he grows up, Negar says. “He also loves visiting the Healing Garden and Seacrest Studios and singing along when it’s time for music therapy. Thanks to Children’s National, today he’s a curious and happy boy.”

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.