Neonatal Intensive Care Unit


Meet Devyn

To care for his gastroschisis and arthrogryposis, Devyn has had to undergo more than 40 surgeries, countless days in the hospital and hours of therapy. Thanks to a team of medical professionals, a loving family and supportive community, Devyn is able to attend school and participate in activities he enjoys, especially sports.

Devyn’s Story: With 44 surgeries under his belt, 13-year-old Devyn Emmons is no stranger to Akron Children’s. In fact, he’s been the captain of his care team since birth.

“I’m not sure why I started counting (his surgeries) in the first place,” said Crystal Emmons, Devyn’s mom. “When he was in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), I think it helped me get through his surgeries – 1 done, 3 to go….I’m thankful we’ve always had a team at the hospital to get us through.”

Devyn’s surgeries started just after birth. Four months before his due date, Devyn went into fetal distress. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. After an emergency cesarian section, physicians acted quickly when they saw Devyn was born with gastroschisis, a hole in the abdominal wall allowing the intestines and other organs to grow outside the body.

“No one knew of his condition beforehand, so physicians used 13 rolls of plastic wrap to protect his organs during his transfer from Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk to Akron Children’s NICU,” said Crystal. “He needed 4 surgeries and was among the first to use a device to help close his stomach a little each day.”

Devyn also was unable to bend his arms and was diagnosed with arthrogryposis, a congenital issue that causes joints to be stuck in one position or have limited mobility.

After 4 months in the NICU, Devyn was finally able to go home.

For the next few years, Devyn continued to have gastrointestinal issues and surgeries to help his system intake and digest food. He also had more than a dozen surgeries and castings to increase mobility in his arms, as well as his 2 clubbed feet.

“He never crawled, just scooted, until he started walking at age 4,” said Crystal. “Devyn was finally able to bend his arms enough to touch his face for the first time at age 6… It was quite a moment.”

During his time at Akron Children’s, Devyn has taken a flight on Air Bear and spent time with countless doctors, nurses and social workers to get his body and system functioning at a level that allows him to attend school and participate in activities with his peers.

Devyn receives a lot of support from the Norwalk community, classmates and Akron Children’s staff.

Teams paired with Devyn:
  • Elder
  • Hilliard Davidson
  • Olentangy
  • Pickerington North
  • St. Charles
  • St. Edward
  • Westerville North
  • Worthington Kilbourne