Published on Sunday, 05 May 2013 00:00
Hannah Warren, a 2-year-old Korean-Canadian was born without a trachea but now has one made from plastic fibres and a stew of her own stem cells.
The little girl born of mix parentage spent every single day of her life in intensive care before getting the windpipe transplant. There is a 99% fatality rate in cases of people being born without a trachea. She was kept alive by a tube that substituted for the windpipe that was supposed to direct air into her lungs.
Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, director of the Advanced Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm performed the nine-hour long surgery on April 9 at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois after carefully creating the windpipe using stem cells derived from Hannah’s bone marrow that were saturated over a matrix of plastic fibres shaped into a tube.
Little Hannah’s the youngest patient and the first to receive the transplant is the U.S. The procedure was approved by the FDA as an experimental operation for patients with very little chances of survival.
Close to a month after her transplant, the adorable toddler is able to mostly breathe on her own and respond to her parents and the doctors.
Sometimes a little ray of sunshine peeks through in this dark and desolate world.