On December 8, 2011 Hensley and her twin sister, Laurel, were born at Erlanger, well ahead of their January 25th due date. Though they were “preemies,” they excelled in neonatal intensive care (NICU). They quickly reached four pounds, and were discharged home on Christmas Eve. Both girls grew and met all milestones, until they became very sick with respiratory issues in the spring of 2012. Unfortunately, Laurel passed away on August 25th from her respiratory issues. Two days later, Hensley was admitted to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.
Pediatric Pulmonologist, Joel Ledbetter, took the lead in her case and formed a team with GI specialist Drago Tolosa, MD, and ENT Chris St. Charles, MD. After performing a bronchoscope, they diagnosed Hensley with bronchomalacia and tracheamalacia, conditions caused by weak cartilage in the walls of her bronchial and tracheal tubes. In addition, a feeding tube was installed for several months due to swallowing dysfunction.
Hensley is now a thriving four-year-old, outgrowing both respiratory conditions, as well as her swallowing dysfunction. She is in Pre-K and loves school, especially arts and crafts. Her mother, Brittney, says, “She is a joy to those around her and can light up a room with her smile. We will forever be grateful for the care she received at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger in properly diagnosing her and saving her life.”