Amazing Kids, Amazing Stories: Lucy's Story
When Lucy Heuring-Blank was born, she weighed only 14 ounces. Her leg was so small it fit through her mother's wedding ring.
Her mother, Jane Heuring, was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a serious illness in which a mother's life is threatened by her pregnancy. For mother or child to survive, Lucy had to be delivered after just 25 weeks of gestation.
Although Lucy survived the many complications related to her early delivery, during her care at a hospital in Appleton, her family began to fear that Lucy would remain tied to a ventilator indefinitely. Seeking to provide her daughter with as normal a life as possible, Jane was referred to specialists at UW Children's Hospital (now the American Family Children's Hospital) for evaluation.
J. Scott McMurray, MD, a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialists, pinpointed the key problem as a narrowing in Lucy's throat, just below her vocal cords. After 12 procedures, she is now stable at home but breathes through a tracheotomy tube.
Dr. McMurray continues to work on reconstructing her narrowed airway. Her family and physicians have great hopes that Lucy will, in time, be free of her tracheotomy tube as well.
"Lucy has come a long, long way," says Dr. McMurray. "She truly amazes me every time I see her. She is now a normal child except for the tracheotomy tube and some swallowing problems - both of which we continue to work on."
Lucy's mother is still amazed by her daughter's progress.
"No one would have guessed that Lucy would be doing as well as she is," Jane says. "When she was born, we did not know from hour to hour whether she would still be with us. As we look ahead, we see her growing up as a regular kid."