Benjamin’s Story

When Michael and Donna Dabramo found out they were expecting their first child, they spent the entire day in disbelief.

“We were both quite surprised,” Michael Dabramo said.  On Oct. 14 2009, the Dabramos checked into Mease Countryside Hospital where Donna Dabramo was induced.

Donna Dabramo began pushing without any results, and on the last few pushes the baby’s heart rate dropped drastically. Baby Benjamin Dabramo was quickly delivered by Caesarean section and was in critical condition.

“I was in the hallway when they told me he wasn’t breathing, Michael Dabramo said.  Baby Benjamin was born with a condition called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Babies born with this condition suffer from a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain.  According to Michael Dabramo, Benjamin Dabramo’s attending pediatrician had read about the cooling treatment, only offered at Shands at the University of Florida at the time, and arranged for him to be flown there to receive the treatment.

“We just trusted his judgment,” Michael Dabramo said.

“The delivery itself was a difficult one,” said Michael Dabramo.

Upon arrival, Benjamin Dabramo was placed under the care of neonatologist Michael Weiss, M.D., and his team. Weiss placed Benjamin Dabramo on the cooling treatment where his body was cooled for a period of 72 hours and then slowly re-warmed to normal temperature value.  Benjamin Dabramo was monitored closely during his stay and spent about two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. The Dabramos brought Benjamin home on Oct. 27. 2009, and were encouraged to make plenty of follow-up appointments to maximize their son’s outcome.

“It is important to make sure the baby is meeting neurological milestones,” Weiss said.

The Dabramos continue to marvel at how many people take a normal birth for granted.

“When you’re in a medical emergency for a newborn, so many thoughts race through your mind and you just pray for the best,” Michael Dabramo said.

“It opens up you eyes to see things and appreciate a lot more what you’ve been given.”

Benjamin Dabramo, who is now one-years-old, is happy and healthy.

“He’s learning to walk, he babbles normally, plays normally and throws pretty well,” Michael Dabramo said.  It’s a joy to see parents delighted that their child is meeting all of their developmental milestones and doing well, according to Weiss.

“It’s just a tremendous reward for all of the hard work we put in,” said Weiss. “It’s just an incredible feeling”.

According to Michael Dabramo, he would advise parents to research doctors thoroughly so they will completely trust any decisions that they recommend.

“We’re so grateful for everything that Dr. Weiss did for us, and all of the people at Shands were just terrific,” Michael Dabramo said. “We’re just so grateful that everything worked out for us”