As the parent of a child who's alive because of EA TEF treatment, I find the history of the treatment's evolution fascinating. Here's a summary.

Hey everybody, welcome to this week’s EA TEF Awareness Month Tuesday feature! As you many recall, in the January 4th post, you learned 10 reasons to mark EA TEF Awareness Month. Last Tuesday, you learned how being the parent of a child with EA TEF inspired me to do what I do. You were invited to leave a comment at the end of that post to be entered into a drawing for a free book. (If you haven’t done that yet, do it now before the drawing closes at midnight on January 29, 2012.)

Guest Blogger Christine Lester to the Rescue

For this week’s post, I’d hoped one of’s EA TEF guest blogger moms, Lori McGahan or Christine Lester would guest post. But their EA TEF Awareness Month has been consumed with EA TEF complications in their kids. So keep them in your prayers as they advocate for effective treatments.

Even though Christine is preoccupied with Billy’s concerns, she found time to send a link she recently found. It gives the most complete summary of modern medical history of EA TEF treatment either of us have found. After poking around at the site and trying to contact it’s creators, I’ve concluded that they are no longer actively tending it. Still, it is worth reading. My gratitude for several generations of surgeons and for parents who consented to experimental surgeries and autopsies on their EA TEF babies (long before the condition was named and abbreviated) grew with each paragraph read. Our children are alive because of these medical pioneers and grieving, gracious parents.

A Personal Connection to Dr. Keith Ashcraft

In the introduction to the history, two surgeons are given credit for compiling much of the background information: Dr. Nate Myers and Dr. Keith Ashcraft. My jaw dropped when Dr. Ashcraft’s name popped up. In 1997, he removed two-thirds of our son’s lower esophagus because it was believed to be pre-cancerous. His skill, compassion, and manner with our then 15 year-old-son were impressive. So impressive that in 2007, I asked Dr. Ashcraft for an interview while researching what became my first book, A Different Dream for My Child: Meditations for Parents of Critically and Chronically Ill Children. Many of his insights are included in the book. He’s also the fellow in the picture above.

The History of EA TEF Treatment

Without further ado, here’s the link to the page titled What Is EA TEF?. Once you’re done reading that, you might want to check out this link about how EA TEF is treated. And if you have a magnifying glass and a great deal of perseverance, this chapter from a book on pediatric surgery gives a very thorough history of EA TEF awareness and treatment.

Would You Like to Say Thank You?

Our family is so grateful to the surgeons who gave our son a second chance to live: Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Pinch at the University of Nebraska Hospital in Omaha, Dr. James Hopkins at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, and of course, Dr. Keith Ashcraft at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

Is there a surgeon, GI doctor, nurse, therapist, or other health care professional you would like to thank? If so, leave a comment in the box below. Think of it as a chance to recognize those who gave your child the gift of life and to add your personal twist to the history of EA TEF treatment. I can’t wait to hear about the people who helped your family.

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