LITTLE Elie Madden has arrived home in style on a Government jet after five months of intensive, life-saving medical procedures in Boston.
The 18-month-old was unable to breathe or swallow unaided when she left Ireland late last year and had to spend 38 days in an induced coma as part of the treatment to "grow" her oesophagus.
A few days ago she took her first meal and uttered her first sounds, and last night she arrived home with her parents -- Dublin chef Eddie Madden and his Polish wife Esti -- and Elie's twin sister Emie and grandmother Anita.
"She hadn't been well before we left Boston, but she bounced back as she always does, slept most of the way and was monitored by a doctor and a nurse," said Eddie when the family touched down at Dublin airport. The toddler was taken by ambulance to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin where she will be monitored for a few days before being allowed home for good.
"Its amazing, she's a different child now," said Esti. "We are so proud of our little Elie, she is such a fighter. She is our miracle baby. We have been overwhelmed by the unbelievable support for her."
Elie was born with a rare digestive disorder known as severe posterior tracheomalacia and long gap oesophageal atresia.
This means a gap between her oesophagus and stomach prevented her from eating, drinking or swallowing without medical equipment. She was taken to Boston to be treated by world experts.
The cost of the little girl's treatment was covered by the Health Service Executive and VHI but her parents have also thanked the generous donors who gave around €30,000 to pay for Eli's travel and other expenses.
A second Dublin twin with the same condition is being flown to Boston this week to begin treatment.
Thirteen-month-old Sergio O'Connor was flown to Boston on Monday by the Air Corps, which then took the Maddens home on the return flight.