11-month-old ‘mayor of the NICU’ leaves the Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge for the first time

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (WLS) – It’s not every day that a patient in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit walks out of the hospital.

But Max Do did it when he left the Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge on Monday for the first time in his young life.

There was great fanfare for the occasion as Max was known as the “mayor” of the NICU.

“He just loves people,” said Dan Do’s father. “Whatever you say to him, he’ll smile. He’s a good boy. Good boy.”

“We do things day by day, but overall, we’re really happy and grateful,” said Kim Nguyen’s mother. “You can see Max is a really happy baby. Every time he smiles, it’s amazing. I just want to see him smile.”

Max is the only child in the world with a mutation of a rare condition called congenital sodium diarrhea, which leaves him unable to absorb nutrients.

Doctors knew something was wrong when the boy was born two months premature with a distended abdomen. The team took an effort to come up with a diagnosis.

“It was a great effort by everyone, from the nurses, the GI, the geneticists,” said Dr. Michael Cappello.

However, Max’s parents don’t know what to do.

“There was a time when we thought we were going to lose him and we mentally prepared for it,” his father said.

But Do said they have become close to Max’s doctors, nurses and hospital staff, who have been of great support to them. And for months, Max made a remarkable recovery, relying solely on intravenous nutrition.

Cappelo said: “Max threw tons of curvy balls his way and he swung hard and knocked them all out of the park.

Max still needs to receive nutrients through an IV, and his parents will receive regular help from the nurses who will visit their home. But his doctor says that Max will always be a special part of the hospital.

“Everyone is obviously happy to be home and with the family, but everyone is a bit sad because he is such a big part of the NICU family,” Cappello said.

Max turns 1 year old next week! Although, his family says they are not planning a big party.

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