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Woman holding baby

Born without a trachea, baby’s life saved by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin


Never before in the United States has a baby survived when born without a trachea, otherwise known as the windpipe. That changed earlier this year when a team of doctors at Children’s Wisconsin and Ministry St. Joseph’s Children’s Wisconsin saved the life of babyThomas Richards.

Most of these children die within hours of being born, but the doctors at Ministry St. Joseph’s Children’s Wisconsin did amazing work to stabilize Thomas and get him to Children’s Wisconsin. Once here, the breadth and depth of our expertise, and the resources through our academic affiliation with the Medical College of Wisconsin, allowed us to create a treatment plan that hadn’t been done before. I am proud to say I was part of that process.

The story of Thomas Richards

I encourage you to read this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article that chronicles the full story of Thomas’ amazing medical journey. You can also watch the following video to hear Thomas’ parents, Jessica and Corey Richards, discuss their son’s tracheal agenesis and the medical care that saved his life.

The strength to survive

The amazing success of Thomas is as much a reflection on him and his family as it is on the work of the doctors, nurses and staff at Children’s Wisconsin. We made decisions with the information we had and did the best possible work we could — but in the end, it is this little boy’s strength and parents’ love that keep this story going.

Nurse holding baby

The team involved in Thomas’ care

  • Dr. John Densmore, Children’s Wisconsin pediatric surgeon, MCW associate professor of pediatric surgery
  • Dr. Mike Mitchell, Children’s Wisconsin cardiothoracic surgeon, MCW professor of cardiothoracic surgery
  • Dr. Keith Oldham, Children’s Wisconsin surgeon-in-chief, MCW professor of surgery
  • Dr. Michael McCormick, Children’s Wisconsin ear nose and throat specialist, MCW professor of pediatric otolaryngology
  • Dr. Dave Beste, Children’s Wisconsin ear nose and throat specialist, MCW professor of otolaryngology
  • Dr. Louella Amos, Children’s Wisconsin pulmonologist, MCW assistant professor of pulmonary
  • Cecilia Lang, Children’s Wisconsin clinical nurse specialist and Tracheotomy Home Ventilator Program coordinator
  • Dr. Katie Dominguez, St. Joseph’s Children’s Wisconsin pediatric surgeon
  • Dr. Nathan Schreiber, St. Joseph’s Children’s Wisconsin ear nose and throat specialist
  • Dr. Babatunde Sobowale, St. Joseph’s Children’s Wisconsin neonatologist

I am privileged to be surrounded by some of the best doctors in the world and to serve babies like Thomas and his family.