Before the age of 5, Haley had three heart surgeries in Alabama to correct a congenital heart defect. Her health seemed to be improving, until she developed a potentially fatal lung condition.
When Haley was nine years old, her family relocated from Alabama to Colorado. Shortly after the move, Haley was admitted to Children’s Hospital Colorado after she went into acute distress multiple times due to clots made of hardened lymphatic fluids blocking her airway.
She was diagnosed with plastic bronchitis – a dangerous and potentially fatal airway obstruction.
The next year was difficult for Haley. She was dependent on an oxygen tank to breathe and was hospitalized often, requiring intubation and a ventilator. Haley was admitted for two weeks at a time to dissolve the clots with new therapies, but it was a temporary fix. Every time she was discharged, the clots returned.
Children’s Colorado called in Dr. Gupta, a specialist from the University of Colorado, to try a new procedure called thoracic duct embolization to seal abnormal ducts surrounding the airway.
The procedure was successful. Haley was free of clots and she was breathing on her own.
On March 4, 2015, 11-year-old Haley celebrated one year free of hospital visits. Haley’s caregivers said throughout her struggle, she kept her positivity and regained her energy and vibrant personality.
“She is full of life and never lets anything get her down,” said Haley’s mom, Angel.