Indy baby overcomes rare disorder, defies all odds

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Doctors at Riley Hospital for Children are calling 7-month-old Jaden McGraw a "miracle baby."

“I consider him a miracle baby," said surgeon Troy Markel, who operated on Jaden three different times during the first few days of his life. "It’s always one of those things to mix faith into this, but I think you have to have faith. If you weren’t a believer before, you have to be now. We all thought he was going to die multiple times and he pulled through."

Jaden and his twin brother Jalen were born 15 weeks premature and with a rare disorder called necrotizing enterocolitis, which causes bacteria to invade and destroy a child's intestinal wall.

The life-threatening disorder is common among premature babies and only about 50 percent of children diagnosed with it survive, a spokeswoman for Riley Hospital said.

Jalen died shortly after birth, but Jaden kept fighting. After a five and a half month roller coaster ride in the hospital, Jaden and his family got to go home.

Thursday, they came back to Riley Hospital for a reunion with Dr. Markel and the other staff that helped the family through this difficult journey.

"He was so little. Coming back brings back a lot of memories. The bad and the good," Jaden's mother, Alexis McGraw said. "He’s a miracle. Through all the complications he was having, Dr. Markel saved him."

At just 9 lbs., Jaden is still smaller than most babies his age. However, at birth Jaden weighed less than a pound and was the smallest baby Dr. Markel had ever operated on.

"I could fit him in the palm of my hand," Markel said.

Jalen's mother, Alexis, now wants to study to be an intensive care nurse so she can help other families through difficult times.

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