Dr. Evan Nadler first met Maisie when she was two days old. She was born with a malformation of her esophagus and would need three surgeries, the first one immediately, to insert a feeding tube into her stomach. Dr. Nadler discovered an additional challenge during that surgery: Maisie had a congenital defect called tracheoesophageal fistula where the top part of her esophagus and her windpipe were connected.

“We gave her a few months to grow and get stronger,” Dr. Nadler says. He made plans for two more surgeries to correct the condition, connect her esophagus to her stomach and close the feeding tube incision. At four months, on Thanksgiving, Maisie, went home to recuperate. Her family was delighted. She drank breast milk through a tube in her nose for one week, then pulled it out during a nap and quickly learned to bottle-feed. Maisie is now 6. She loves school, ballet, drawing art and hiking in Rock Creek Park.

Maisie’s mom, Alexandra says Children’s National is the place that made her baby whole. “It connected her and allowed her to be happy and healthy.”

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.