In April, 7-year-old Georgi Borisov and his parents, Hristina and Stefan, traveled to the United States for their first time from their home in Bulgaria. They were coming to Children's Hospital Boston so Georgi could receive treatment short bowel syndrome (SBS), a condition caused by the loss, either before or after birth, of half of the small bowel. The condition causes malabsorption and the body can't break down or absorb sugars, proteins, fats and certain vitamins.
In the past there weren't any effective treatments for SBS, but in 2003 Children's surgeon Heung Bae Kim, MD, developed a new procedure that helped lengthen a patient's bowl, this making it easier for nutrients to be absorbed.
Kim performed Georgi's STEP on May 1 and the results have been remarkable. Georgi went from constantly being on antibiotics, an IV and a special diet to a being a healthy, upbeat 7-year-old who can run around freely, and has freshly skinned knees and an impish smile to prove it.
"This is the best he has ever been in his whole life," says Hristina. "He repeats constantly that he is happy there are no more tubes or IV poles." He no longer has to take medicine everyday, and his parents view this as his fresh start in life. When the Borisov's returned to Bulgaria in June, Georgi brought with him a few toy cars given to him by Children's version of the tooth fairy.
While Georgi was here he lost a tooth and put it under his pillow for the tooth fairy, but before she could get to it, one of the hospital's clinical assistants changed his laundry. Georgi quickly wrote the tooth fairy a letter and she left a few toy cars under his pillow. Little incidents like this and having his parents by his side made his recovery easy, his parents explained.
When the family returned to Bulgaria, they were reunited with Georgi's sister, 9-month-old Teodora, who stayed with family members while Georgi was getting healthy. He is looking forward to eating staples of a Bulgarian diet that he couldn't have before, including eggplant, zucchini and a traditional type of sausage native to Bulgaria. Although he was looking forward to going home, he admits, "I played all the time and I had a lot of fun and I will miss Dr. Kim, he was my favorite doctor."