The family of Dublin toddler Elie Madden flew home to Ireland on the Irish government jet Tuesday after the toddler’s treatment came to an end following a five-month stint in Boston Children’s hospital.
An 18-month-old twin from Dublin, Elie was born with the digestive disorder severe posterior tracheomalacia and long-gap esophageal atresia, which meant there was a five centimeter gap between her esophagus and stomach.
As a result of her condition, Elie was unable to eat, drink or swallow without the use of medical equipment. After seven operations at Boston Children’s Hospital, she recently ate her first meal and was able to use her voice for the first time.
“We have been away almost five months, it’s been a long road,” her mother Esti told the Irish Voice on the eve of their departure. “We cannot wait to get home.”
Polish-born Esti has been keeping a bedside vigil for her daughter since they arrived in Boston in November. Elie’s healthy twin sister Emie and her grandmother Anita have also been in Boston for the duration of the treatment, while dad Eddie remained in Dublin, where he works in a restaurant.
Eddie arrived in Boston on Friday to be reunited with his family before their final journey home.
“I didn’t see this day coming,” Eddie said of their imminent trip back home to Dublin.
“It is great to see her breathing without a tube and laughing. I fed her myself for the first time last night. I was nervous.”
The Dubliner, who had not seen his family since January, was amazed to see Elie’s progress and how much the twin sisters had grown.
“They are getting prettier every day,” he said.
Doctors have been delighted with Elie’s progress after her extended stay in Boston.
“They are astonished that she is eating the way she is right now,” Eddie said.
After the family arrives back in Ireland, Elie will be transferred to Crumlin Children’s Hospital for around a day, Eddie says.
“I think we return to Boston in about two years,” Eddie said.
Meanwhile, the O’Connor family, also from Dublin, flew into Boston on board the Irish government jet on Monday morning to begin treatment for Sergio, a one-year-old twin who suffers from a similar condition to Elie.
The Dublin toddler was diagnosed from tracheo-esophageal fistula with long gap atresia, which prevents him from eating, drinking or swallowing.
The one-year-old twin was accompanied by his parents Donal and Rosa and an Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) medical team.