The family of an Irish twin, currently undergoing a life-saving procedure at Boston Children’s Hospital, uses their traditional Irish music skills to aid his recovery.
Currently in an induced coma, Sergio O’Connor, a one-year-old twin from Dublin, was born with a rare condition called tracheo-esophageal fistula with long gap atresia. A five centimeter gap in his esophagus prevented him from eating, drinking or swallowing without the aid of medical equipment.
Just over three weeks ago Sergio was flown to the U.S. by an Irish government jet to undergo a revolutionary procedure known as the Foker Process, which involves stimulating the growth of his esophagus.
“The doctors are amazed he is doing so well,” his father Donal O’Connor, told the Irish Voice on Tuesday.
Stepping away from his son’s bedside vigil, O’Connor said he likes to play the fiddle while his son sleeps.
“We have been playing lots of music,” he said. “My parents have come over from Ireland and my father plays the tin whistle.
“His heart rate does go up sometimes. He does respond to it. We are not having a big session as we are very conscious about not making a lot of noise.”
Sergio underwent his first surgery on May 5, when doctors placed traction sutures in the end of his tiny esophagus. He was then placed in an induced coma while the two ends grow together.
Doctors had originally estimated Sergio would be in a coma for at least one month. However, a mere 10 days on there was less than a one centimeter gap remaining. They are so pleased with his progress that he is scheduled to have his second surgery later this week, weeks ahead of schedule.
“The second operation takes about 10 hours,” O’Connor said. “They will try and reattach his esophagus.”
Although now retired, Dr. John Foker, the man who pioneered the treatment, met with O’Connor on Monday to deliver the positive prognosis.
“Dr. Foker knew all about Sergio. He gave us the good news,” he added.
“All the signs and signals have been great but we are not jumping the gun.”
Back in Dublin, Sergio’s mom Rosa and his twin brother Tadhg, check in daily through Skype and telephone.
“We would be lost without technology,” O’Connor says.
Rosa, who is originally from Spain, spent the first two weeks in Boston before returning to Dublin to look after Sergio’s twin Tadhg, who was born in good health.
“It was really very difficult for her to leave,” O’Connor said.
“I do miss home,” he admits, adding that he missed Tadhg taking his first steps a few days ago.
“When I see the quality of healthcare here, it puts a smile on my face,” he adds.
For now the Dublin dad is staying optimistic.
“We are at the early stage,” Donal said. “We still have a few months of treatment ahead.”
For more information, updates or to donate to Sergeio's cause visit http://www.helpsergio.com/