Health and Medicine

A special bond

From the moment Lennox landed, the Pierces felt something different about the care they were receiving, not only in terms of the level of technical care they witnessed but also in the understanding and attention they received from their clinicians.

Carlton J. Zdanski, MD examines Lennox while his mother, Jessica looks on. Photo by Max Englund/UNC Health Care.

Three years ago, Iowa natives Jessica Pierce and her husband, Clinton, moved to Havelock, N.C., in the eastern part of the state. Clinton had joined the Marines, and his orders were to Cherry Point. Together, they were raising three children, ages 1 to 12, and they had just discovered they had a fourth on the way — a son they would name Lennox.

Lennox Pierce gets a kiss from his mother, Jessica Pierce. Photo by Max Englund/UNC Health Care.

During Jessica’s 20-week ultrasound, the family received difficult news: their doctors in Havelock discovered some significant abnormalities with Lennox. Care had to be transferred to Eastern Carolina University. Jessica and Clinton were shocked, as all three of their children were completely healthy, and Jessica’s previous pregnancies were comparatively uneventful.

“The providers watched us closely through our entire pregnancy,” Jessica said. “They only gave Lennox a one-percent chance of making it. But he made it, and when he did, they didn’t know what to do – they were lost.”

Lennox was born two years ago, in mid-August. He arrived six weeks early. Without hands and feet, and requiring a tracheostomy tube to breathe and a feeding tube to eat, his immediate needs were complicated. Providers at ECU recommended that the Pierce family receive care in Chapel Hill. Two days after he was born, Lennox was flown to UNC Hospitals while Jessica and Clinton drove to join their son and meet his new care team at N.C. Children’s Hospital.

Today, Lennox Pierce is learning to walk with prosthetic legs and use prosthetic arms.

“I’d never heard of the N.C. Children’s Hospital, but once Lennox arrived here, we knew he’d make it,” Jessica said. “It was a huge relief just to know they could care for him.”

From the moment Lennox landed, the Pierces felt something different about the care they were receiving, not only in terms of the level of technical care they witnessed but also in the understanding and attention they received from their clinicians.

“It was the first time since he was born that anyone congratulated us,” remembers Jessica.

To keep reading this story and view many more photos, visit UNC Health Care.