In the 20th week of her pregnancy, Carrie Daniels and her husband, Brandon, learned their daughter, Laney Kate, had congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a condition when a hole or weakness in the diaphragm allows the stomach and intestines to be squeezed upward into the chest area. Children born with CDH face a difficult surgery and have a 50 percent chance of survival. Carrie and Brandon decided the best place for Laney Kate was The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis.
Immediately after she was born, Laney Kate was put on a respirator and placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in the NICU. (ECMO is a life-saving treatment for infants and children suffering from cardiorespiratory failure.) An operation to relocate her organs would have to wait until she was strong enough; but when her stomach suddenly ruptured, there was no choice. “The nurses helped get us through the ordeal,” says Carrie. “We left there with a bigger family.” Today, Laney Kate is a healthy, active five-year-old. To celebrate her birthday, she drops by to see the staff and patients in the NICU, bringing gifts and cookies for the kids.