The good news is that Jalyn Jones raised enough money to get a new jaw. The bad news is that the Missouri teen will have to wait until June to get it.
Jones, whose quest to raise money for the operation was featured in Newsbites in December, was born with hemifacial microsomia. The right side of her jawbone does not extend far enough to join her skull. Externally, her mouth appears twisted to the right.
According to an article in the St. Charles Journal, Jones, 19, from St. Charles, Mo, wears braces to stabilize her palate. Without the braces, the roof of her mouth eventually would collapse. Her orthodontist has warned her that the braces must come off soon, or they will damage her teeth. But first she must have the jaw surgery.
Jones has already experienced five operations and many years of false starts. At least two doctors have prepared her for surgery before, only to cancel for different reasons.
This time, surgeons canceled because Jones’ blood count and blood pressure were too low to safely keep her anesthetized during the 12-hour operation.
"I was really upset," Jones said. "I was so ready to have these braces off and not have to worry about my jaw anymore."
Jones’ family raised $29,000 to pay for the procedure, which would have reinforced her palate and extended her jaw by cutting it into three sections. Taking the advice of St Louis area specialists, the family traveled to Dallas to have surgery performed by Dr Larry Wolford, an internationally recognized pioneer in facial surgery.
The family flew to Dallas December 27, 1 day before the scheduled surgery. The hospital immediately performed blood tests, then called for more tests the next morning.
Jones was in her surgical gown, lying in the pre-op room, when the anesthesiologist arrived and began asking questions about her blood.
Lana Jones, Jalyn’s mother, said the mood was still upbeat when Wolford entered and asked her daughter if she was ready for a new face. Then the anesthesiologist showed him the test results.
"A changed look came over Dr Wolford’s face," Lana Jones said. "Jalyn immediately knew that wasn’t good. She started crying."
The family asked for Wolford’s advice. He and the anesthesiologist stepped away for a moment. Wolford returned and announced the surgery was canceled, Lana Jones said.
Jalyn will have to see a hematologist to determine what is wrong with her blood. Jalyn said she will have to eat more vegetables.
"Before this, I hardly ate vegetables at all," Jalyn said. "Now I have to eat broccoli, carrots, every stinking vegetable you can think of."
Lana Jones said she hoped her insurance would pay the hospital bills, but it would not pay Wolford’s $29,000 fee. Jones said $25,000 of the $29,000 would probably be refunded to her daughter’s medical fund. She said she was not sure if she would have to raise more money for the June operation.
"People everywhere have been helping us with fund-raising and praying for Jalyn," Lana Jones said. "But she didn’t have the surgery and we don’t have answers. I don’t know what to say to people."