Medical History

Manny was born on 10/7/06 in Beaver Dam. To his parent’s surprise, Manny was born with a variety of birth defects. Most noticeable was a birth defect called Bilateral Microtia (no ears) and Bilateral Atresia (no open ear canals); because his ear canals are completely closed he was pronounced legally deaf at birth. 

Shortly after Manny was born, he was transferred to UW Hospital, where Manny was diagnosed with another major birth defect called Tracheoesophageal Fistula or TE Fistula. He had a "fistula" (connection) between his trachea and esophagus. (The trachea and esophagus are supposed to each go separately into the lungs and stomach, respectively, without any connection.) This condition explains why Manny choked when he ate. He needed major surgery when he was only 5 days old to remove this fistula. In addition to these two birth defects, he was born with 5 other ones and he gets monitored regularly by a Cardiologist, Opthamologist, and Geneticist. During his first three years of life Manny got to play with a Speech Therapist, Physical Therapist and Hearing Therapist weekly. In fact, during Manny’s first year of life he had 104 doctor and therapy appointments. Despite being labeled deaf, Manny was fitted for a bone conduction hearing aid when he was 6 weeks old, allowing him to hear and develop speech. 

Manny received a CT Scan at age 3 which revealed excellent news – he could have surgery to open up his ear canals – allowing him to be able hear more effectively through air versus bone. He then underwent a surgical process to open up each ear canal (atresia repair) and reconstruct two outer ears. Microtia and Atresia are rare birth defects – only about 1 in 15,000 children are born with this condition. Out of this 1 in 15,000, only 3% are bilateral and only 3% of these children have no outer ear, also known as “anotia”. Manny is both. Combined with his other birth defects, the doctors say Manny is one is a million, literally. The severity of his birth defects, along with the complexity of the others, makes his surgical situation more challenging, which is why it was so important for Manny to have surgery with doctors who specialize in surgically correcting this rare birth defect. Manny underwent atresia repair with Dr Roberson from the California Ear Institute in Palo Alto California and reconstructive surgery with Dr Lewin from Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles at the same time, during a special, Combined Surgery located in Palo Alto.  The first surgery took place on 4/25/11 (Right Ear) with the second surgery (Left Ear) on 8/1/11, followed by additional enhancement surgeries 1/12, 4/12 and 8/12 all in California. The Combined Surgery reduced the amount of total surgeries, additional surgical risk and complications for Manny.
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