David is a pediatric OR nurse working alongside the team that changed his life at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware. When he was an infant, his pediatrician diagnosed him with pectus excavatum (funnel chest), at a wellness checkup. David and his family were referred to Dr. Kirk Reichard, a pediatric surgeon, to map out a care plan.

While his condition was not life-threatening, it had a huge impact throughout his life growing up.

David says, “Pectus excavatum impacted my daily life in many ways. I was screened for possible lung capacity deficits as well as heart displacement, both came back as positive yet minimal. The bulk of the impact on my life was psychological, self-esteem and self-portrayal of my body image constantly weighed on me.”

When he turned 18, he decided to move forward with surgery. Dr. Reichard performed a Nuss procedure with a bar placement to correct David’s sunken chest. After six weeks of rest and recovery, David got off the couch and felt more confident. He was able to get in the gym to continue to further his body’s development and work on his self-esteem.

David says, “The summer of 2022 is when the bar removal occurred. The following spring (2023), I graduated nursing school. I was inspired by my experiences with the hospital as well as the nursing staff in the perioperative setting to pursue a career as an OR nurse. My goal is to work alongside those who helped me as a child.”

“For the future, I aspire for a few things. I hope to become as proficient as an OR nurse as I can be. I am nothing but motivated to learn, and I am excited to show up to work every day. For the long term, my true passion is to be able to be an advocate for patients who go through similar situations. What this surgery did for me was life-changing! I believe through early detection and family education, this surgery can be more widely used. It can provide great things for children, adolescents, or even young adults like me who struggled with the condition.”

The post David’s Pectus Excavatum: Both a Patient and Associate appeared first on Nemours Blog.