Brave twin Elie is tickled pink to be home again after US op
A BRAVE baby girl who underwent life-changing surgery in the US is rediscovering the joy of being home.
"We didn't see this day coming, it's a lot to take in," said a delighted Eddie Madden from the family home in Santry, Dublin.
His 18-month-old daughter Elie is making good progress -- and enjoying that special bond with her twin sister Emie -- since she was flown home from Boston Children's Hospital.
Elie spent the last five months undergoing pioneering treatment to close a 5cm gap between her oesophagus and stomach. Previously she had been unable to eat or swallow.
Little Elie spent the first nine months of her life in Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin before she was offered the life-changing surgery in the US. As part of the treatment, she was placed in an induced coma for over a month.
"She got home last Friday. She was flown home the previous Tuesday on the government jet but had to spend a few days in Crumlin Hospital.
"She's had her ups and downs but she's getting there. She still has to be weaned off a lot of the medication but she's eating slowly," said Mr Madden.
And Emie is ecstatic to have her sister home. She had travelled to Boston with her Polish-born mother Esti and her grandmother but was unable to visit her sister at the intensive care unit.
"Emie is always around her, talking to her, laughing and giving her kisses. It's so sweet to look at," said Ms Madden. "They have that twin bond again."
And while Elie has a lot of catching up to do, her twin sister is providing great encouragement and help.
Elie will go back to Boston in a few years' time so doctors can check on her progress, but otherwise she can be monitored in Ireland.
The Maddens have met the parents of Sergio O'Connor -- also a twin -- who travelled to the same hospital in Boston last week to undergo treatment for a similar condition to Elie's.
"We met them in the hospital when they arrived, they are in the room just next door to Elie's in the ICU," said Ms Madden.
"They've been following our story and we've been an inspiration for them which is what we wanted."