Stories about: G-tube

Meet Ryan: The boy who grew his own esophagus

Dr. Rusty Jennings, Ryan Page, Dr. John Foker
Dr. Rusty Jennings, Ryan Page, Dr. John Foker

Eleven-year-old Ryan Page is a budding trombone player whose favorite foods include candy, popcorn and hot dogs. “Ryan loves any choking hazard,” jokes his mother Tracy.

When Ryan was born, few would have predicted he would be able tolerate these foods or master the trombone. “His doctors told us he had the longest gap they had ever seen in a baby with esophageal atresia,” recalls Tracy. Ryan was born with a nearly 4-inch gap between the top and bottom parts of his esophagus.

“This is a kid whose predestination based on standard therapy was chronic aspiration (breathing food, liquid or vomit into the airway), chronic lung disease and multiple operations throughout his life. Instead, he’s a normal kid. That’s the miracle of the Foker process,” says Dr. Rusty Jennings, director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Esophageal Atresia Treatment Center.

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Second opinion gives Tim a second chance for motility health

Baby Newborn and NurseTim’s first few weeks of life were hard, on both him and his parents.

Born with various medical concerns, including a lack of the sucking and swallowing reflex—the instinctual way babies know how to suck and swallow milk—he had a hard time getting all the nutrients he needed. To help him thrive he was fitted with a gastric feeding tube (G-tube) that delivered formula directly to his stomach. But even with his tube, Tim still had problems with severe reflux. It puzzled his local doctors and pained his parents who were at a loss as to how they could comfort their son.

“It’s heartbreaking to have a child in pain and not be able to do anything,” says Tim’s mother Stephanie. “You feel so powerless.”

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