Nine year old Everett Pettis undergos kidney transplant Tuesday
By Neil McGahee
Everett Pettis, a nine-year-old boy from Arabi, has mixed feelings about June 15, the day he will get a new kidney.
“I’m excited, but I’m also scared,” he said as he completed one of the last dialysis treatments in his short life.
It was a struggle just getting into the operating room.
Everett Pettis was born in February 2012 with underdeveloped lungs and a blood count of 6.67 pH, far too acidic for his small body. The normal pH of the human body is between 7.30 and 7.45.
Doctors told his parents, Ben and Angie Davis, that Everett only had a three percent chance of survival and that if he did survive, he would never walk, speak, or breathe alone.
But the Davis only heard that there was a chance.
He was admitted to the Georgia Children’s Hospital in Augusta and placed on a life support machine that did the functions of the lungs, kidneys, and heart and gave his body time to heal before it could function on its own.
After he finished breathing treatments, he was diagnosed with laryngomalacia, which is extra tissue near his larynx that is blocking his airways. Surgeons removed the excess tissue and oxygen was pumped into his lungs to keep his airways open. After three weeks of treatment, Everett’s lungs were fully developed and he was able to come home.
However, luck was fleeting.
He was brought back to Augusta, where due to all the complications of childbirth, he was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. His right kidney had stopped working entirely, while the left was enlarged and only about two-thirds of its function was left.
The couple realized that a
Transplant was the only viable option.
After three years of waiting, they received the call that a kidney was available.
But transplants are expensive, and the Davis didn’t have nearly enough money. The bill for labs, medication, and transportation to Augusta alone is $ 771,596.
On August 29th, the Wraith Riders, a Cordele Chapter of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club, sponsored the Everett Pettis Kidney Transplant Poker Run. Entry fee was $ 20 per bike and $ 10 per passenger, and included lunch at the end of the ride. There was also a silent auction for items donated by local businesses and a 50/50 raffle with all of the proceeds going to pay for some of the rising medical bills.
“The money raised through these two events gave us the funds we needed for the transplant,” said Angie Davis. “All we could do was wait for a suitable kidney donor.”
But the tragedy struck again.
Ben Davis woke up last December with no weight on his legs. He was taken to Tift Hospital for an MRI, but during the process his heart stopped and he suffered a stroke caused by the disruption of blood supply to the spinal cord. He was resuscitated and transferred to Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Shands doctors sent him to Warm Springs, then he was transferred to a Columbus Hospital, where he is currently awaiting transfer to a nursing home.
On Tuesday, June 15, at 7:30 a.m., nurses at Eggleston Hospital in Atlanta will take Everett to the operating room for a 6- to 9-hour procedure. When everything is done, Everett said that he will ask for something he has never had.
“I want a Gator Ade,” he said. “I can finally have one.”