Dexter & Charlie's Story - End-stage Renal Disease

Caring for Toddlers with Kidney Conditions at UCLA

Patient Stories: Pediatric Urology, End-stage Renal Disease & Hydronephrosis

Affiliated Programs: Pediatric Urology Program, Kidney Transplant Program

Dexter and Charlie's Story

Dexter and Charlie Finger Painting

Teri Parcon was looking forward to the birth of her son, Dexter, when a routine prenatal ultrasound revealed some bad news: Her baby had end-stage renal disease, a condition resulting in severely limited kidney function and requiring either dialysis or transplantation to ensure survival.

The expectant mom spent months in a Southern California hospital being monitored and examined before the infant was born. Upon Dexter’s birth, he was placed in the neonatal intensive care unit to assess his kidney development and function. At four months old, Dexter was transferred to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center under the care of Dr. Jennifer Singer, a UCLA pediatric urologist with expertise in treating patients with end-stage renal disease.

Dr. Singer and her team worked closely with Dexter’s parents to stabilize the baby’s health. In the two years since, Dexter has had catheter procedures, ablation surgery that treated the posterior urethral valves to help increase bladder function, and placement of a gastrostomy tube (g-tube) to help address his nutritional needs.

Dr. Jennifer Singer

“Dr. Singer and her team are always available to answer questions,” says Teri Parcon. “We feel like she really knows us, which makes it easier. She always explains which tests are needed or what to expect when Dexter has a procedure. We feel so comfortable with her and the UCLA team because they’ve known Dexter since the beginning.”

Now age 2, Dexter has dialysis 6 times a week as he grows bigger and stronger. The 10-hour treatments are done at home overnight as he sleeps. Because of Dexter’s medical conditions, he is somewhat developmentally delayed but is now standing, beginning to walk and continuing to gain weight as he grows.

A year after Dexter was born, the family welcomed his brother, Charlie, to the world. Charlie also had kidney issues – he was diagnosed with hydronephrosis, a congenital urologic condition in which urine is trapped in the kidneys, causing swelling. An active 1-year-old, Charlie also is monitored regularly by Dr. Singer to be sure his kidneys are developing and functioning normally. A full recovery is anticipated.

Dr. Singer and the family expect that Dexter will be ready for a kidney transplant once he gains more weight. Once Dexter is cleared to have a transplant, Parcon and the boys’ father, Quentin Brown, will be tested to determine whether they can be donors.

“It’s a waiting game right now while Dexter gets bigger and healthier,” says Parcon. “But we are very confident about Dexter being just fine after he has a transplant.”