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Joanna’s Story: When the Plan Changes

Eric RileyWhen Joanna Riley found out she was expecting her second child, she was thrilled. She and her husband were familiar with what was to come, having taken prenatal birthing classes at Sisters Hospital before their first son, Caleb, was born. The Rileys expected another routine delivery. After a brief labor, their second son, Eric, was born.

Joanna recalls hearing delivery nurse Patty Collins say, “His cry is a bit off.” Neonatologist Thomas Riley, M.D., was called in to examine Eric. He determined that Eric needed to be transported to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) immediately.

Once in the NICU, Rob Dukarm, M.D., noticed something was obstructing Eric’s airway. It was determined that Eric had a congenital anomaly known as a laryngeal web. This rare condition occurs when a thin web is spread between the vocal folds and the nerves. It closes off the airway, and can lead to serious respiratory issues. But Eric had surgery, which corrected the problem.

Joanna credits Patty Collins with saving Eric’s life. “If she hadn’t been at the top of her game and realized that something wasn’t 100% with Eric right after the delivery, his condition may have gone unnoticed until something grave had happened,” said Joanna.

Today, Eric is doing great. “He’s big, healthy and strong. And his voice is even louder than Caleb’s!”