Toddler’s Windpipe Grown from Her Own Stem Cells

stem cells
Image via iStock

As a parent, how would you feel about doctors performing an experimental procedure on your child? Would you let them do it if it meant you might have your child around for a lifetime rather than just a few years? What if it meant that she wouldn’t be hooked up to breathing tubes in a hospital for her entire life?

For parents Darryl and Young-Mi Warren the procedure was a risk worth taking when they allowed their daughter Hannah to become the youngest ever patient to benefit from an experimental stem-cell treatment. Little Hannah Warren was born without a windpipe, preventing her from being able to eat, drink, or swallow on her own. Her entire life was spent in a hospital with a breathing tube in her mouth.

Around 50,000 babies are born without windpipes each year and this complication means they usually don’t live for very many years. Hannah’s parents became desperate in their search to find a solution to the problem and save their daughter.

{ MORE: How to Deal with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease }

An Italian doctor and an American pediatrician agreed to try a new type of procedure to try to help the young girl. They extracted stem cells from the marrow in her hipbone to use in order to grow a new windpipe for Hannah.

Normally, the FDA is hesitant to grant permission to doctors to take on experimental procedures like this one, but due to her condition, Hannah  was not expected to live past the age of six, so they gave the surgeons the go ahead.

According to Discovery News, “It took less than a week for the stem cells to multiply and form a new windpipe.”

The implantation of the windpipe took nine hours and took place on April 9.

After the procedure, a hospital nurse, Bethany McGfraw, painted Hannah’s nails for her—hot pink.

Hannah’s father said they hope to bring their little girl home in a month, in plenty of time to enjoy her third birthday in August.

He also said that seeing his daughter beginning to recover feels like she is “reborn.”

There is a fair amount of risk that comes with stem cell procedures, but according to the Associated Press, “Doctors announced Tuesday, April 30, 2013, she is recovering and likely will lead a normal life.”

Doctors have also said that the success of the procedure has given them hope for the future. Many more lives may be saved because of this experimental surgery and the bravery of young Hannah and her parents.

Hannah’s mouth tube has been removed and doctors let her taste food for the first time—a few licks of a lollipop.

The Warrens were brave in their desperate efforts to save their child. The doctors didn’t give them much hope, but they took a leap of faith when they allowed Hannah to undergo her windpipe surgery.

{ MORE: The Serious Health Risk for Children Most Parents Often Overlook }

Would you do the same thing for your child? Is it worth the risk? Comment below!

What do you think?

Toddler’s Windpipe Grown from Her Own Stem Cells

Tell us what you think!


  1. Profile photo of MAMASEXXY MAMASEXXY says:


  2. Profile photo of lyndsey lyndsey says:

    Wow what a strong baby girl! Im considering saving my sons stem cell!

  3. Profile photo of SummerChild SummerChild says:

    wow this sounds scary, at least she is okay.

  4. Profile photo of nydia rivera nydia rivera says:

    And I hope she keeps recovering this is a miracle! Go little girl!!

  5. Profile photo of nydia rivera nydia rivera says:

    I would so ANYTHING.. just anything to save my child.

  6. Profile photo of RavenGrey RavenGrey says:

    It’s wonderful and amazing what science can do these days!


Get a FREE Newborn Sleep Guide when you sign up for our newsletter

By joining the community, you will have access to our active community of mothers just like you, interactive tools, sweepstakes, free baby offers and more! You will also receive customized newsletters tailored specifically to you and special offers directly in your inbox.By joining the community, you will have access to our active community of mothers, interactive tools, sweepstakes, free baby offers, customized email newsletters tailored specifically to you and special offers directly in your inbox.

Due Date or Baby's Birth Date

By clicking the "Join Now" button you are agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy.

Send this to a friend