Born with four related heart defects and a rare disease affecting the colon, William was admitted to the IWK's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for urgent care.
William underwent open-heart surgery when he was just over a month old to fix his heart defect. Thankfully, the surgery went well, but his voice was hoarse in the weeks following the surgery, and he had trouble breathing. He underwent many tests to find out what was wrong.
William’s care team discovered he had two conditions called laryngeal edema and tracheomalacia. Laryngeal edema is a common complication of intubation caused by trauma to the larynx. It may present as stridor (noisy breathing) and respiratory distress following extubation. Tracheomalacia causes the cartilage in the windpipe to become soft, weak and floppy.
At two months old, William needed a tracheotomy to insert a tube into his windpipe to help him breathe. This news was another unexpected blow for William’s parents, Lindsay and Jesse. When he was almost four months old, William began to experience more bowel issues and had to undergo an emergency colostomy surgery. He recovered well, which was a much-needed victory for William and his parents. After his tracheostomy tube was removed, the family celebrated by taking William home to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, for his first Christmas after spending four months at the IWK.
At this point, William had already had three major surgeries, but he was not yet out of the woods. He had an ostomy reversal and pull-through (a bowel operation) and another open-heart surgery before he turned one.
William, now three years old, is doing much better. He loves music, numbers, Paw Patrol and playing with his older brother, Ewan. He visits the IWK’s Heart Centre annually and will need another heart surgery when he’s older. He will also continue to deal with issues related to his bowel disease and is followed by the IWK’s General Surgery clinic.