New start for little Eli after life-saving surgery in US
SHE'S 18 months old -- but at last she's had her first meal and uttered her first sounds, thanks to lifesaving surgery in America.
Little Eli Madden arrived home last night on a government jet from Boston after enduring several operations and spending time in an induced coma.
The Dublin toddler couldn't eat or swallow because of a rare condition, but now thanks to surgery, she has finally had her first meal and made her first sounds.
Dublin chef Eddie Madden (41) and his Polish wife Esti Madden (33) spoke of their joy last night as they arrived at the Baldonnel aerodrome on an Air Corps air ambulance flight from Boston's Logan Airport with their "little fighter" Eli and her twin sister Emie.
The 18-month-old was born with a 5cm gap between her oesophagus and stomach, which prevented her from eating, swallowing or making any sounds.
But after seven operations to grow her oesophagus and 38 days in an induced coma at Boston's Children's Hospital, the little blonde fighter is finally home and on the road to recovery.
"It's amazing, she's a different child now," said her beaming mother minutes before she was taken aboard an ambulance to Dublin's Crumlin Street Children's Hospital. If all goes well, she'll be back at her family's Dublin home for good by the end of the week.
The family also thanked the generous donors who have donated around $40,000 (€30,000) to pay for Eli's travel and other expenses.