Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center | Patient Stories

EAT_Patient_BrandonOne patient's story: our baby's esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula

My husband Brian and I are about to celebrate our 14th anniversary. A big milestone for any relationship, but after the hardships in the past few years, it seems extra special. For the first 10 years of our marriage we tried for kids, but it never happened.

EAT_Patient_ElliotOne family's story: esophageal atresia

For expecting parents, learning that their soon to be born baby will enter the world with a birth defect can be very difficult news. Five weeks before Heather and Jay Cleckler's son's due date, he was diagnosed with esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF).

EAT_Patient_ClaraAn ocean away: Care for laryngeal cleft brings Clara to Boston

Clara had a congenital condition called esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula (EA/TEF). This condition meant that her esophagus hadn't developed properly and didn't connect to her stomach creating a small fistula.

EAT_Patient_CharlotteThe joy of cooking (and eating) after tracheomalacia

At 5 years old, Charlotte is an avid baker — a talent she picked up not at culinary school, but at the Yawkey Family Inn. There, a volunteer taught her how to bake while she waited to undergo treatment for tracheomalacia.

Kate EAT patientA force to be reckoned with: Treatment for tracheomalacia helps Kate breathe easier

“When asked if Kate coughed when she drank, I said, ‘of course,’” remembers her mom. But what Kate’s parents thought was “just a quirk” turned out to be a severe airway disorder that other doctors had missed.

Harper EAT patientHarper’s bright future after care for esophageal atresia

“There were challenges at every turn, but that only seemed to drive Harper’s clinicians to succeed,” says Harper’s mom. “They gave us the confidence as parents that they could make things right.” 

Jack EAT patientMore than a cough: Advocating for Jack

Other doctors told Jack’s parents that he would outgrow his diagnosis of tracheomalacia. His care team at Boston Children’s not only confirmed Jack’s diagnosis of TBM, but they also validated his parents’ concerns about its severity.

Chase EAT PatientReady for the next step: Innovative care for Chase

A childhood accident left Chase with severe damage to his esophagus and trachea, leaving him unable to eat by mouth or swallow. Thanks to an innovative approach and collaboration between Boston Children’s surgeons, he now “eats everything in sight” and hopes to become a chef someday.

Landen SpryMaking up for lost time: Living with esophageal atresia
Clinicians at Landen’s local hospital in North Carolina addressed some of the medical concerns associated with his VACTERL diagnosis, but when he finally came home, his parents realized that he was aspirating when he tried to feed. The family reached out Boston Children’s EAT Center for help.

Devina EAT Center patientDevina's story: Minimally invasive Foker process repairs esophageal atresia
When Devina and her family traveled to Boston Children's, they learned about a new minimally invasive version of the Foker process, which can treat long-gap EA.


Harper and Magnolia, EAT Center patientsTreating vascular rings: Sisters travel more than 3,000 miles for care 
Both Harper and Magnolia were born with a vascular ring. Although the prospect of traveling more than 3,000 miles from Alaska for care seemed crazy at first, the team explained to the girls’ parents that kids come from all around the world for treatment.