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2008 Annual Report of Philanthropy

Maddie’s Journey
f r o m t h e d ay h e r s u r v i va l wa s i n
question, to the day we spent with her
at P h i l a d e l p h i a’ s i n d e p e n d e n c e h a l l .

n at i o n w i d e c h i l d r e n ’ s h o s p i ta l
Twenty weeks

before the day

she was born,

Maddie’s journey

took an

unexpected turn.
2008 Annual Report of Philanthropy

At 20 weeks into Emile’s second pregnancy, when Ten days after Maddie was born, cardiothoracic
a routine ultrasound revealed a birth defect called surgeon, Dr. Mark Galantowicz and The Heart
Dandy Walker, Emile and Chris Sower knew there Center team began the open-heart procedure at
would be anxious days ahead. What the Sowers – 6 a.m. Seven hours later, Dr. Galantowicz emerged
and doctors – didn’t know was that this birth defect from the operating room and told Maddie’s parents
would be the least of Maddie’s medical challenges. that the operation was a success. One hurdle
cleared: more to follow.
For the next 20 weeks, the pregnancy went as
planned and Maddie was born near her original Two days after successful heart surgery, Maddie
due date. Then, during a routine examination, was still unable to keep food down. While it is not
physicians at the birth hospital detected a uncommon for patients to experience difficulty
heart arrhythmia. As a precaution, they made taking nourishment following heart surgery, her
arrangements for Maddie to be transferred to parents grew concerned. Physicians ordered a
Nationwide Children’s Hospital. CT scan and they discovered a bowel obstruction.
Yes, Maddie was rushed into surgery again. But
Upon her arrival, neonatologists examined Maddie 30 minutes into the operation, the surgeon walked
and discovered a serious heart condition. In the into the waiting room with devastating news for
most blunt terms possible, Maddie had been born Maddie’s parents.
with two holes in both chambers of her heart.
And her aorta was one-tenth the size it needed
to be to pump blood effectively. Maddie was
prepared for the open-heart surgery that was needed
to save her life.

W h e n a s k e d r e c e n t ly

“Maddie is
how Maddie was doing,
Chris replied –

growing up
a normal,
energetic kid,
which is all
we ever wanted
for her.”
2008 Annual Report of Philanthropy

The surgery revealed that Maddie had Necrotizing surgeries, as neurosurgeon, Dr. Edward Kosnik,
Enterocolitis (NEC) and that 99 percent of her small worked to find the perfect placement of the shunt,
intestine was infected. NEC is a newborn condition which was made more difficult because of her heart
involving severe injury and destruction of the condition and the NEC.
intestines. If at least 20 centimeters of Maddie’s small
intestine could not be saved, she would not survive. Under normal circumstances, most people would
assume that this was the end of Maddie’s saga. But
At this point, Dr. Donna Caniano, surgeon-in-chief, it was not.
entered the picture with world-class surgical skills
and the sheer determination to do everything Physicians now addressed the hemangioma that
possible to save Maddie’s life. She placed Maddie on developed on the left side of Maddie’s face. Much
aggressive antibiotics and scheduled the surgery that more than the typical skin surface redness, Maddie’s
would determine her fate to take place in 36 hours. hemangioma was an aggressive, but benign tumor
that extended deep in her facial tissue. Without
Dr. Caniano’s plan was to examine every one of the proper treatment, it would spread throughout
approximately 250 centimeters of tissue in Maddie’s Maddie’s brain and spinal cord. But pediatric plastic
small intestine and save every centimeter possible. surgeon, Dr. Greg Pearson, used aggressive steroid
All while Maddie’s life hung in the balance. And her treatments to reverse the tumor’s growth. The
parents waited down the hall. threat to Maddie’s spinal column was averted and
follow-up laser treatments corrected the redness.
An entire day passed before Dr. Caniano emerged
from the operating room and reported to Emile and Although Maddie’s family has since moved to
Chris that although she had removed 75 percent Philadelphia, they return to Nationwide Children’s
of Maddie’s small intestine, she saved enough for for follow-up care with Dr. Caniano, the physician
Maddie to survive. Future challenges remained, but they will never forget. In fact, if the family has their
Maddie had cleared a huge hurdle. way, Dr. Caniano will be an honored guest when
the patient she refers to as Miraculous Miss Maddie
Maddie was less than two weeks old and had graduates from high school.
already survived two major surgeries. Now,
correcting the original birth defect became more Maddie is now a happy and healthy three-year-old.
difficult than anticipated because of complications Made possible by skilled physicians and caregivers at
associated with all of Maddie’s unforeseen issues. Nationwide Children’s. And made possible by you,
our valued donors and friends, who help us take
What physicians thought would be one procedure children like Maddie on journeys to good health.
to correct the problem actually became multiple

2008 Annual Report of Philanthropy

On the following pages we would

like to recognize our donors for
their vision, compassion and
tremendous support.

Thank you for reaching out to

children in need and for making
it possible for us to provide the
care they all deserve.