In December of 2009, Elizabeth was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Immediately after her birth, she was taken to a hospital in respiratory distress and was later transported to Erlanger’s NICU to be seen by cardiology and pulmonology specialists. At just three weeks old, Elizabeth received a cardiac catheter to help diagnose any possible heart condition. After a month in the NICU, Elizabeth went home on oxygen and with an unclear diagnosis.
At three months old, Elizabeth was taken for a follow-up pulmonology appointment and was admitted for respiratory distress. Doctors performed an open lung biopsy to try and find a diagnosis for her continued and increased need for supplemental oxygen. Elizabeth did not recover well from the biopsy and was sent to pediatric intensive care (PICU), where she was sedated and placed on a ventilator. Over the next three to four months, with still no answers as to what was causing Elizabeth’s problems, she was referred for treatment at Cincinnati Children’s and Vanderbilt Hospital. Elizabeth underwent surgery to have a feeding tube placed as well as a tracheotomy.
Over the next couple months, Elizabeth’s condition worsened. She began to have more signs of respiratory distress and needed extra oxygen. She was admitted to the PICU and was eventually flown to Vanderbilt.
Eventually, Elizabeth and her family received good news. It was determined that she would be transported to Texas Children’s Hospital to be evaluated to receive a bilateral lung transplant. Doctors finally diagnosed Elizabeth with a rare genetic condition that affects multiple organ systems including her lungs and heart. In April 2011, Elizabeth received a second chance at life through the gift of organ donation.
Today, Elizabeth continues to need medical treatment. She has seen many specialists at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, received IVIG infusions, and had multiple lab visits. Elizabeth and her family are so grateful for a second chance at life and for the many doctors, nurses, RTs, and staff who have cried with them during some of the darkest moments of Elizabeth’s life and have been there to celebrate her accomplishments and progress. Her mother says, “We will never forget the support and care they provided not only for Elizabeth, but for our entire family. Without the care and expertise of those doctors, nurses, and staff, she would never have survived to make it to transplant. We are forever grateful to the amazing team at Children’s Hospital who fought with us to keep our little miracle alive”.