On Feb. 22, 2021, fraternal twin sisters Harper and Gabriella were born prematurely at 23 weeks. The newborns were delivered by emergency cesarean section in their home state of Nebraska, but were immediately flown to HCA Healthcare’s Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver for specialized care at the hospital’s Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Upon arrival, it was determined that Harper had a gap in her esophagus. “She was missing 80% of her esophagus,” Dr. Steven Rothenberg, chief of pediatric surgery at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, told Good Morning America.
Harper required multiple surgeries, including three for her esophagus. During her final esophagus repair surgery, magnets were used to help connect the gap. "We placed the magnets — one in the lower half of her esophagus and one in the upper half of her esophagus — and then what happened over the next 48 hours is the attraction of the magnets brought the two ends of the esophagus together,” explained Dr. Rothenberg.
More than a year after she was admitted, Harper was healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital. While she will continue with follow-up treatments, Dr. Rothenberg said he's confident about her prognosis. "The fact that she's made it home and they're all together is really a miracle," he said, adding that a large team of nurses, respiratory therapists and ICU physicians all had a hand in caring for Harper and Gabriella.
HCA Healthcare is committed to the health and well-being of all moms and babies. In 2021, we strengthened our longstanding relationship with March of Dimes through a new partnership focused on improving maternal health outcomes. Together, we are using our clinical data, pioneering research and passionate history to deliver healthier tomorrows for mothers and babies.