A Dublin father has thanked the Irish government for flying his one-year-old daughter to Boston for urgent treatment of a congenital digestive disorder.

Little Elie Madden is the first patient flown across the Atlantic by the government jet as she prepares for treatment at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Elie suffers with digestive disorders caused by a five centimetre gap between her oesophagus and her stomach. The condition is known as severe posterior tracheomalacia and long gap oesophageal atresia.

Her congenital defects were diagnosed during pregnancy although her twin sister Emie was born in good health.

Dad Eddie Madden told the Irish Times how the condition prevents the toddler from being able to eat, drink or swallow without medical equipment.
The paper reported that since birth by emergency Caesarean, Elie has had a continuous suction tube through her nose and requires regular ventilation treatment.

Already she has spent nine months in Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Dublin, and has also been treated at home recently in Santry with 16-hour daily medical support.

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The toddler has already undergone a number of operations for a related heart condition. Her forthcoming medical care in Boston will involve an induced coma lasting at least three months to allow her oesophagus to grow - a procedure known as Foker’s technique.

Mum Esti, sister Emie and grandmother Anita accompanied Elie on the government sponsored flight from Casement Aerodrome on Monday. A specialist medical team also accompanied the family ahead of the $500,000 treatment.

Father Eddie has remained in Dublin and hopes to fly to Boston over the Christmas holiday.

“It was very hard saying goodbye this morning, but the HSE and the Air Corps have been fantastic,” he told The Irish Times.

“Knowing that Elie is going into a coma is perhaps the hardest part, but the alternative is a lifetime of medical complications. One Irish child successfully underwent the same treatment last year.

“The treatment was quoted initially at $1.2 million. This has been negotiated down to a minimum of $500,000, but it depends how long the aftercare lasts.”

Ireland’s Health Service and the Voluntary Health Insurance body are funding the cost of the procedure while the Madden family are fundraising to cover the cost of their stay in Boston.