The tentative plan for Jude's care has changed a few times since my last post, but the gist is this: Jude's ECMO circuit has already been changed, but, for now, there's no plan to surgically place chest tubes in him to drain the fluid that has accumulated on his lungs (i.e. the bilateral pleural effusion).
Jude's pediatric surgeon isn't ready to attempt surgery to insert chest tubes since he's on heparin (an anticoagulant) and, perhaps more notably, since Jude's bowel is still on the left side of his chest. If Jude had already received his surgical repair or if he was on the cusp of having it done, then chest tubes to relieve the pleural effusion would be more feasible, I assume; however, at the moment, his surgeon and neonatologist aren't ready to attempt it, particularly with the possibility of damaging his bowel in the process.
For now, it sounds like the staff will attempt to stabilize Jude on the new ECMO circuit, continue his lung conditioning, and take several other measures in order to address the buildup of fluid on his lungs and the consequent pressure on his heart.
We continue to pray for Jude's health and miraculous healing, and we likewise pray that the doctors and nurses overseeing his care will be accorded wisdom and discernment that exceed even the sum of their knowledge and experience. We thank God that we have compassionate medical staff who are measured and thoughtful in their various approaches to taking care of our son.