Dublin twin with rare medical condition makes ‘remarkable’ recovery

Elie Madden marking third birthday with sister Emie this weekend

Twins Emie (left) and Ellie Madden pictured with their parents Eddie and Esti in their home in Ballymun, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Twins Emie (left) and Ellie Madden pictured with their parents Eddie and Esti in their home in Ballymun, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Sat, Oct 5, 2013, 01:01

Lorna Siggins

THE Dublin infant who was flown across the Atlantic by the Air Corps almost two years ago with a serious medical condition is celebrating her third birthday with her twin sister tomorrow (sun).

Treating Elie Madden’s rare digestive disorder involved inducing a coma lasting 38 days and “growing” her oesophagus at the Children’s Hospital, Boston.

Now, she is “practically running around” with her twin sibling Emie, according to her parents Eddie and Esti Madden. They say she is speaking both English and Polish, and making a remarkable recovery.

She was taken to the US by Government jet in late 2011, the first time that the State’s Gulfstream IV had been used for a transatlantic air ambulance mission of this type, and returned home to north Dublin last spring.

Her rare digestive disorder, known as severe posterior tracheomalacia and long-gap oesophageal atresia, had been identified at birth, while her twin sister Emie was born in good health.

A five-centimetre gap between her oesophagus and stomach prevented Elie from being able to eat, drink or swallow without medical equipment.

The HSE and VHI supported the cost of the treatment, which was undertaken by the Boston team led by consultant Russell Jennings, with input by the Minnesota paediatrician who developed the “growing” procedure, Dr John Foker. She had seven operations over five months.

A specialist HSE medical team accompanied her, with her mother Esti, her twin Emie and her grandmother Anita, on the flight to the US from Dublin. She returned home in April 2012 with her newly found voice and an ability to eat food.

She received further treatment in Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, Dublin before discharge.