A two-year-old girl gets a windpipe made from her own stem cells, becoming the youngest person in the world to benefit from this treatment, still in the experimental stages. According to Fox News on April 30, 2013, Hannah Warren has spent her two years of life not being able to breath, eat, drink or swallow on her own because she was born without a windpipe.
The little girl lived in a hospital in South Korea since she was born in 2010 and doctors had told her parents, Darryl Warren and Lee-Young-mi that there was no hope and the child was expected to die. This life saving and life changing surgery took place at Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, where a pediatric surgeon who works there met Hannah while on a trip to South Korea.
That doctor set-up the surgery by sending for the Italian surgeon who pioneered this treatment. He came to Illinois and together the doctors did this successful surgery, which will allow Hannah to go home and live a normal life eventually.
The stem-cell technique has been used to make other body parts and holds great promise for treating birth defects and childhood diseases, according to Hannah’s doctors.
The stem cells came from Hannah’s own bone marrow and it took less than a week for these stem cells to multiply and create a new windpipe after they were seeded into plastic scaffold to grow. Doctors describe the windpipe size as about the same size of a three inch tube of penne pasta. The procedure took nine hours for the doctors to implant the windpipe.
The two-year-old is still on a ventilator, but that is expected to be a thing of the past once she learns how to breath out of this new windpipe. She will be able to do everything a normal child can do within time, which means she will live a normal life.
Hannah’s parents met in South Korea, the native country of her mother, but her father is from Newfoundland and he came to the South Korea to teach English. You couldn’t paint a picture of happier parents than Hannah’s today.