It’s probably a mom’s worst nightmare: to see her child turn blue and gasp for breath, the threat of death ever so real in those moments.
That’s exactly what happened to April Gionfriddo from Ohio. Her son, then 6-week-old Kaiba, stopped breathing and was rushed to the hospital. He would spend the next days there, be released, then the same ordeal would happen two days later.
Kaiba was diagnosed with tracheomalacia, a rare birth defect that happens in one in every 2,200 children, wherein the windpipe collapses. Sometimes, in the process, his heart would also end up to stop functioning as well. April was crushed further as doctors cautioned Kaiba might only survive by trips in and out of the hospital throughout his life.
At the time, Kaiba already three months old, medical experts were still researching into the use of artificial airway splints but none of these had been used in actual patients yet. Having heard of this research, April and her husband wasted no time in getting in touch with the doctors behind the study, Glenn Green, M.D., and Scott Hollister, Ph.D, both from the University of Michigan.