Mystery doctor saves dying baby with rubber gloves in improvised operation

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News

One-month-old Jake Willet was about to die. A doctor at Medway Hospital in Kent, England, gave grieving parents Jodi Baker and Brian Willett the tragic diagnosis after little Jake's small intestine burst. The two-months premature infant suffered an infection the doctor was sure was fatal.

Baker wrote about her son on a fundraising page for Ronald McDonald House in Camberwell:

"Jake's tummy started to swell for ten days doctors were unsure what was going on untill Jake was diagnosed with Necrotising Enterocolitis, he became extremely sick and within 24 hours we were told Jake needed an operation to remove part of his bowel that had became inflammed, the reason for this being he was so premature that his gut was not yet ready to digest milk so the intestines became swollen," she wrote.

"We were told unless Jake had this operation he would not survive, problem being the hospital we were at was not able to operate on Jake he needed to be transferred to Kings College in London which was over an hours drive from where we were. Jake deteriorated rapidly we were told to call the family in to say their goodbyes as Jake was not going to pull through, we were all devastated."

A visiting doctor attending to another baby in another ward overheard the distraught parents talking and immediately offered to carry out an impromptu stomach operation on the spot, but warned Baker and Willett, "I've never done this before."

"I'm going to try something on your son, it will either save his life or end things there and then," the doctor told them.

The parents quickly agreed, knowing that their son would die without help.

"The surgeon calmly reached into Jake's incubator, made two tiny cuts in his stomach with a scalpel, and drained the infection, using a glove in each incision to keep the wounds open," the Daily Mail reports.

The "miracle" procedure saved the infant's life. He was then transferred to a hospital in London where he underwent a six-hour operation.

Jake is now 16 months old. He has made a full recovery.

Jake's parents still don't know who the doctor who saved their son's life was.

"The consultant is believed to be a neonatal specialist on dual rotation between King’s College Hospital in London and Medway Hospital in Kent," reported.

"The doctor said he had never done the procedure before, but Brian told him to try," Baker recalled. "I did not know what to think when I returned to see Jake with two plastic gloves sticking out of his tummy. But I was amazed that it had worked. I am so grateful for that doctor for saving Jake's life. Jake is an absolute miracle. He's a really happy boy and now he eats everything and is putting on weight."

Baker and Willett hope to one day be reunited with the man who saved their son's life:

“The nurse said we should ask our family to come to the hospital to say goodbye to Jake. It all happened so quickly I cannot even remember what the doctor looked like," Baker said. "My partner and I would love to be able to see him again to thank him for saving Jake’s life.”