Children's Hospital Heroes: Abel

The love of a North Texas father shines through even as he explains his son’s battle to stay alive. What dad did to make his son smile had lots of people at Children’s Medical Center talking.

Abel Escamillia will always cherish the memory of the day he took a piece of cake to the face.

“The last thing we want is our kids to be in any kind of pain. We feel that that’s our job. We need to go through that for them. And sometimes we can’t. So any way we can take a load off of them, I’m going to do it,” he said.

His son, who is also named Abel, is healthy now, but he’s had trouble since birth.

When his mom was four months pregnant she found out his intestines were on the outside of his body.

“When she was 32 weeks his intestines twisted and they were saying if they didn’t get him out now they were going to rupture, so she had to have an emergency C-section,” Escamillia said.

Immediately after birth Abel was rushed into his first surgery, which was a success. He had another surgery at 3 when some scar tissue wrapped around his intestine.

Then when he was 5 things got really scary. Abel told his dad he needed to see a doctor immediately and he was right.

“By the time he got there he had already gone into septic shock and they had to intubate him right away. And they said he was losing blood from somewhere, but they didn’t know where,” Escamillia said. “They told us to make phone calls because it wasn’t looking good for him.”

Before rushing Abel into surgery, doctors at Children’s Health in Dallas assured his parents he’d be okay.

“They just assured us, ‘Your boy’s going to be okay.’ They said, ‘We don’t have a lot of time to talk, but his intestines are twisted up and he has no blood flow to the bottom half of his body so we have to get in to operate right away,’” Escamillia said.

Overall Abel lost a lot of his large intestine, two-thirds of his colon and a small portion of his small intestine. He spent three months in the hospital and it was unclear if he’d ever walk again or use the bathroom or eat on his own.

There were a lot of unknowns, but he kept getting better and eventually the day came when doctors told him he could eat again.

“Chef came up and cooked him basically anything and everything he wanted. He didn’t cook just one thing; he had hot dogs, spaghetti. He had all kinds of desserts and Oreos. This kid had it made,” his dad said.

Abel’s stomach wasn’t used to all that food, though. After eating he wasn’t feeling well. His dad had an idea and asked him a question.

“What would make you feel good? What would make you feel better? He’d seen my wife walking around with a cake and he said, ‘Why don’t you let me smash the cake in your face?’ I was like looking around and his nurses were there, the doctors were there. I was like, ‘Well, I’m not going to tell you no. Okay, let’s do it,’” he said. “He laughed. Just to see him smile, it was his day and I didn’t want his day to be ruined.”

Abel continues to improve. He isn’t on any medication and continues to maintain his weight.

It’s also important to note that Escamillia works for Discount Tire Company and when Abel was in the hospital for those three months the company told him they wanted him to focus solely on his son. The company took care of him and his family the whole time, even paid the hospital bills.

The family is also thankful for the doctors at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals who took such great care of them.

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