Kelvis Challenged Death

Dreams can be so simple like tasting chocolate ice cream one day, this goal was reached by a young man after having fought to stay alive for two years with the doctors’ help  

By: Yahily Hernández Porto


2017-04-19 | 17:51:34 EST
Kelvis Challenged DeathKelvis Challenged Death Photo: Yahily Hernández PortoZoom

CAMAGÜEY.— Kelvis Delgado took a deep breath, looked at his parents and began the dialogue with JR about his complicated childhood and adolescence. His words described how hard was the resistance of him and the medical staff who saved his life, thanks to science and expertise.

For this 22 year-old man, born in the secluded Batalla de las Guásimas community, of Vertientes municipality in Camagüey, retelling those episodes of much hustle and bustle in the family is almost a miracle.

“I grew up away from the flavor of sweets, ice creams, fruits, crackers, meat... I cannot tell how many times I entered the surgery room”, he said and his mother revealed they were more than 120, among them “some high-risk surgeries.”

Kelvis suffered upper gastrointestinal bleeding when he was one year-old, which led him to vomit blood, due to esophageal varices, said Doctor Ramón Romero Sánchez.

“This was caused by portal hypertension, as a result of the medication he received through his umbilical cord, which drained to the porta vein, and appeared after a thrombosis of the latter”, the expert said.

Doctor Romero said that this condition required open abdominal surgery at the Eduardo Agramonte Piña Paedriatic Hospital to ligate the veins and attempt a gastric devascularization. First surgery of the many the boy underwent.

“The work of many experts enabled him to resist until he was enough mature, when his main condition was treated by the medical team of the Manuel Ascunce Domenech Hospital.”

Doctor Romero led the multidisciplinary team which developed a series of complex surgeries, which are unusual and rare in the same patient. “There is no report of this in the Cuban medical literature, and the procedures needed resources, equipment and the collective will and intelligence. Few have survived so many surgeries and invasive treatments”, the doctor stressed.


“Kelvis was born on June 5, 1994 and a few days after his first birthday he vomited blood and ended up with his hemoglobin in four”, said his mother Zaida. She is the mother of other two children and with her husband she has spent more time in hospitals than at home.

At seven years of age the kid had improved apparently. Despite different medical procedures, even at the prestigious William Soler Hospital in Havana, his disease advanced stealthily.

“I had a liquid-based diet until I could not swallow any more, and I had to be fed through a tube connected to my abdomen. I just weight 60 pounds at the age of 20.

 "Swallowing water drowned me, and the beaten food pinched my esophagus. I almost died eating peanut. I was lucky my friends moved fast. The stenosis-scaling of the esophagus in its lower portion-never healed and slowly deteriorated his health.

Meeting with Sciences

In 2014 he turned 20 and, very sick, he suffered from hypovolaemia, which occurs when the human body runs out of blood.  To save his life, he was subjected to a surgery in which the esophagus was severed, so that even the saliva did not hurt him when swallowing.

Faced with this reality the doctors of the Pediatric and Ascunce hospitals decided to treat their underlying disease with new horizons. Fighting for the young man's life was the only determination of the doctors, who developed a comprehensive analysis of his condition, which gave a trilogy of problems that endangered the patient’s life.

“Portal hypertension persisted, in addition to splenomegaly with hypersplenism (increased volume and function of the spleen) and a terminal esophagostomy (opening in the neck) with closure inside the upper thorax at the other end of the organ”, Doctor Ramón Romero explained.

Kelvis was examined by numerous medical and technical specialists who required imaging, simple, tomographic, angiographic, and ultrasound studies. " His psychological and nutritional mood improved. His case was discussed in groups of about 25 experts" the specialist added.

From this professional combination, an anesthetic, surgical and pre and postoperative follow-up strategy was born in the rooms for the care of the critically ill patient; It was decided to perform two surgical procedures at different times.

His second acid test would arrive in 2015, when the digestive transit through the esophagus was restored. He could drink water and swallow saliva normally.

Different alternatives were planned in order to achieve the functionality of the patient's digestive system, but the safest was to attach the esophagus naturally. "After careful measurements and ongoing follow-ups, Kelvis returned to normal," the doctor said.

The medical team intervenes Kelvis’ esophagus.

The procedures used in this case were presented in the 13th Cuban Congress of Surgery held at Havana’s Convention Palace in 2016. Its impact was relevant due to the complexity of the disease, the treatment and the results.

Translated by ESTI        

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