Baby born without skin undergoes crucial surgery

Friday was a big day for a little Ja'bari Gray, the baby born without skin.

After the major procedure, Texas Children's Hospital released the following statement regarding Ja'bari's health:

On Friday, May 24, Ja’bari Gray underwent surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital to place skin grafts on the exposed wounds of his body. Plastic surgeons skillfully positioned the fragile grafts, which were grown from Ja’bari’s own skin cells, with the goal of wound closure in due time. Ja’bari remains in critical condition and will require ongoing wound care as he recovers from the procedure.

A multidisciplinary team of experts at Texas Children’s continues to work together to care for Ja’bari’s complex needs. At this time, the hospital is not providing interviews with his care team, but we will release additional updates as they are available.


Additionally, Ja'bari's mother says the doctors successfully opened Ja'bari's eyes.


Thursday afternoon, Ja’bari Gray was prepped for a surgery where doctors are to open his eyes and cover the parts his body missing skin with skin grown in a lab from Ja'bari’s very own cells.

The nearly 5-month-old born without skin from the neck down will finally grow into his own.

It’s the day his mom, Priscilla Maldonado, has been praying for.

"Amazing. I don’t know how I’m going to react. But it’s going to be amazing," she said.

Im more nervous. I’m more nervous. Excited

Earlier this month, a biopsy of Ja'bari’s skin was sent to Vericel Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where skin cells were put into trays.

"They grow and divide, making a very thin sheet about four to eight cells thick across the bottom of the flasks that we grow them in," said Dr. John Hopper. "We have 24 hours from when it leaves the controlled environment here in Cambridge to when it should be placed on the patient."

It’s a procedure done for burn victims, but doctors hope this will save Ja'bari’s life.

Priscilla says Friday will also be the day a plastic surgeon will open Jabari’s eyes.

"I think that’s going to be one of the main things for him," she said. "When his eyes are open, he gets to put the voices to the actual physical features together. It’s probably going to comfort him a lot more."

They’ll be major milestones in Ja'bari’s fight, but the journey is far from over.

"His arms are still contracted, his hands, his foot fused together," said Priscilla. "I don’t want to come this far to him not to be able to be mobile. I want him to have his functions just like everybody else."

Priscilla says the skin should arrive in Houston sometime on Thursday night, and Ja'bari will go into surgery Friday morning.