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Baby Murphy successfully treated for rare choking condition at Children's Minnesota

Complicated surgery gives infant with rare condition new lease on life
Complicated surgery gives infant with rare condition new lease on life 02:07

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota family has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. 

Baby Murphy was born with a rare condition that caused him to choke when he was eating. 

But a complicated surgery saved Murphy, and gave him a new lease on life. 

"He just like never wants to sit still. He's very happy and funny," said Paige Davis, Murphy's mom. 

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Murphy is now 7 months old, and he's celebrating that milestone at Children's Minnesota — the same hospital that likely saved his life. 

"Every time he would nurse he would just sound like he was choking," Paige Davis said. "And then after a couple days, he kind of just like wasn't eating."

Murphy's parents knew something was wrong soon after he was born, so they decided to take him to Children's Minnesota. Dr. David Gonzalez diagnosed Murphy with something called tracheoesophageal fistula.   


"This is a condition where the trachea, which is the breathing pipe, and the esophagus, which is the feeding pipe, are somehow connected," Dr. Gonzalez said. "Most likely it's going to be that every time that they try and feed they're going to start choking and have coughing fits."

And it's life-threatening. Doctors don't come across tracheoesophageal fistula very often and there are different types. Murphy's was called the "H" type because a piece of tissue connected the esophagus and trachea, forming an "H." 

It's considered to be the rarest form of a rare condition — and performing surgery on a week-old baby is a delicate procedure.

But as tricky as it was, doctors were able to successfully separate the feeding pipe from the wind pipe. And months later, Dr. Gonzalez got to reunite with a healthy baby Murphy.

"We have such a happy boy now who is perfect," said Mike Davis, Murphy's dad. 

"He eats great now, that's good. He almost eats a little bit too much. I can't keep up with him," Paige Davis said. 

"For the vast majority of cases I never get to see them after they leave the hospital, so this brings me a lot of joy to see him here just looking as happy and healthy as he's looking right now," Dr. Gonzalez said. 

About one in 3,500 babies are effected with this condition. And of those, only about 4% have the type of condition that Murphy had.

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