BENNETT, Colo. — Five-year-old Kayla Hilbert has spent almost as many days in the hospital as she has in kindergarten.
“I’ve had eight surgeries,” she said.
Kayla was born with an abnormally small jaw and a cleft palate. She had difficulty eating and even breathing.
“She had a feeding tube until she was about a year old,” said her mother, Amber Hilbert.
Kayla was even flown to Children’s Hospital Colorado just one day after she was born.
“They had to go in and cut her jaw bone on both sides and screw plates into it,” Hilbert said.
Five years later, the energetic girl is finally able to be a normal kid, despite living her entire young life with pain and discomfort.
“It was sort of hurting whenever I touched it,” Kayla said.
It turns out, a large screw wired into Kayla’s jaw may be to blame.
Hilbert was looking at her daughter’s medical records online when she came across a CT scan showing the screw.
“It was shocking to see something that big in her small head, especially imagining five years ago how small her head was,” Hilbert said.
Hilbert says she immediately contacted her daughter’s doctor to ask why he had never said anything.
“He responded that it’s probably a screw left in there from her jaw distraction when she was an infant. I’m definitely upset it was missed,” she said.
In October 2019, the screw was finally removed. For the first time in her life, Kayla’s jaw now feels normal.
Hilbert is now considering possible legal action, and she’s also sharing her daughter’s story in hopes it may somehow help another child.
“My biggest thing is just watch your kids’ records because stuff like this was obviously easy to overlook. It’s definitely something I never expected to happen,” she said.