Medical Procedures for airway paralysis

My sister RuthAnn was born a fighter, but she has been knocked down one too many times with her vocal chord paralysis and can no longer continue to battle this fight on her own. She has been on disability for a year and now and has lost her insurance. She has 85% restriction in her airway due to her vocal chords being paralyized closed. She can not talk anymore and can barely whisper, she gets out of breath walking up stairs because she is getting 15% of the oxygen you and I get out of a normal breath, basically, she is suffocating with a restricted airway and is getting to a point where she is unable to comprehensibly speak anymore.

RuthAnn was born June 28th, 1976 in Kaiser Hospital, Redwood City, Ca. She was born Premature by 8 weeks and Dr. Shapiro, head of Pediatrics, was the delivering dr. Her weight was under 5 pounds and then dropped to under 4 pounds. Ruth Ann took one breath then stopped breathing, due to her premature birth of 8 weeks she developed Hylens Membrane disease, now known as severe respiratory distress syndrome. Staff immediately started hand respiration...continued for 7 hours..nurses would not leave her side..worked overtime to keep her alive.We were told she would not make it thru the night but by midnight Dr. Shapiro called Kaiser San Francisco to pick her up for neonatal care. In hospital for a total of 40 days with breathing tubes stuck down her airway which caused damage to her nerves controlling her vocal chords. When she gained weight and could breath on her own, she was transferred back to Redwood City and Dr. Shapiro had the nursery ready with the name...Miracle Baby....sign on her little bed. He called her the "little fighter".

She was a very noisy breather...but she was breathing....during her swimming lessons at age 4...instructor called her froggy because of her noise....he stopped calling her that when he was told what was wrong.

 She has taken part in all activities at home and in school...although her PE instructor in high school was going to fail her because she couldn't complete the required running laps, he didn't realize the problem because Ruth Ann never told him...she never complained or quit until she had to because she couldn't breath.
When she was approx 14 she went to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Ca....Specialist said there wasn't anything they could do!
She refuses to let this problem get to her..although it is getting worse and she is having much more difficulty breathing and talking.

Her previous procedures have been to treat the symptom and not the problem. Their quick fix has been botox shots through her windpipe into the muscle behind her vocal chords. Extremely painful and improves about 3%-5% volume of oxygen. Ruthann has 2 very active daughters and about 30 different animals that her daughters raise for Fair. She is constantly working to give her family the best she can provide but she is killing herself and unable to talk. She has also graduated with honors from college. But she is currently sidelined from providing for her family due to her disability. 

  She has been offered a coveted appointment with Dr Zeitel in Boston. She needs to fly there, have the appointment and the procedures to open her airway and regain the ability to talk, and do this all without insurance. Without this, her breathing will only worsen and she will be completely unable to speak. If she doesnt get this fixed, the dr's will cut a hole in her throat for her to breath through. If this damages her larynix further, she could lose any hope of regaining her voice. Her wish is to be able to tell her daughters she loves them and for them to hear her voice as it was and to be able to run and play soccer with them.

She needs help and deserves to get it....she never gave up and we can not give up on her...she continues to struggle every day.

Thank You for your consideration of her treatment with this worsening and devastating problem.


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Matthew Lopez 
Half Moon Bay, CA
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