It’s not uncommon to hear patients say that the IWK is like a home-away-from-home. For eight-year-old Katie Hallett from Shelburne, NS it was her very first home where she lived for the first 630 days of her life.
Upon her birth, Katie was diagnosed with a condition called laryngeal cleft type 4 that meant the tissue between her larynx and esophagus was not completely fused, creating life-threatening respiratory and feeding issues. Over the years she had dozens of surgeries to help repair and correct her condition and for most of her life Katie has had a tracheostomy tube to help her breath. Last fall she was finally able to have it removed.
Ear, nose and throat surgeons performed the complicated and delicate procedure of reconstructing Katie’s whole trachea and esophagus. It required the use of donor-funded equipment such as a surgical telescope that connects to a camera allowing the surgeon to clearly see and perform surgery without large invasive incisions. Surgeons have used these telescopes in at least 43 of Katie’s many operations.
“In Katie’s short lifetime she has been touched by donors at every turn,” said Tami, Katie’s mom. “When you see how well she’s doing today, it drives home how grateful we are for their support.”