An Accident at Home Changes the Lives of the Essex Family

Accidents are a parent’s worst fear. Things like running with scissors, falling down the stairs, or even burning hands on the hot stove keep many parents up at night. How do you prepare for such an incident? It’s a scenario that the Essex family knows all too well. At 3 years old, Chase wanted to try out his new toothbrush. He snuck into a closed bathroom and dipped his brush in a sink that was full with a lye-based drain cleaner.

The chemical destroyed his esophagus and epiglottis, making him unable to breathe or swallow. His dad rushed him to the local emergency room, which sent him via medevac to Children’s National. Chase spent 3 weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit recovering from his near-fatal accident, his mother said. “He had third-degree burns and scarring in his mouth, and his airway closed to about one centimeter.”

Now eight years and 32 surgical procedures later, Chase is enjoying life. He uses a tracheotomy that opens his airway, but he doesn’t let that slow him down. He plays soccer and enjoys socializing with friends and family. “He’s a real people person,” his mom says. “Children’s National saved his life, and he has taught our family that you can conquer anything no matter what. He’s so full of life, and he doesn’t let having a trach affect him.”

We've selected Chase as our 2016 Children’s Miracle Network Champion, representing the Washington, DC area. Learn about this program and how you can help more kids like Chase. 

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