Natalie Barrett is the three year old daughter of my niece Catherine and her husband, Phillip. Natalie was born with Microtia Atresia . Her left ear was underdeveloped and she does not have an ear canal. The word Microtia actually means “little ear.” When she was born, neither of her parents had heard of Microtia. Microtia is a congenital disorder that happens in 1 out of 6,000 births worldwide. Although the condition is not life-threatening, it was hard to know how Microtia would affect Natalie’s life, especially her speech and language development.
While they were in the NICU with Natalie and and her twin sister, Abby, Phillip found a doctor online named Sheryl Lewin that has devoted her entire career to reconstructive surgery for children and adults with Microtia. While they were still at the hospital they contacted Dr. Lewin to get more information. They were very surprised at how quickly and compassionately she responded giving them more information about Microtia.
Natalie has a rare form of Microtia where her “little ear” formed more on her cheek than where her ear should be. Phillip and Catherine felt from the beginning that Dr. Lewin was the right surgeon to help Natalie get her big ear and move the tissue from her cheek. All of this was only confirmed the more they engaged with Dr. Lewin and her team. They were also able to Skype with her and to meet her providentially at a conference in Nashville where she examined Natalie. Dr. Lewin is one of the few surgeons in the world that can perform PIER surgery for Microtia. In this surgery, she will use Natalie’s tissue/skin and wrap it over a porous material shaped to look like an ear.
From the first time you meet Natalie, you will know that she does not let Microtia slow her down! She has a bone conduction hearing aid on a band that helps her hear on her left side. She is full of energy, loves gymnastics, enjoys animals, loves to explore new things, and has an infectious chipmunk laugh. This surgery will create a left ear and give her sense of normalcy, preventing some of the negative social issues related to her condition. It will also remove tissue over the internal ear canal which will improve her ability to hear through a hearing aid.
Surgery Date and Cost:
The surgery date for Natalie is scheduled July 17, 2018. Phillip and Catherine have been working since Natalie was born to save and learn how to go through the proper appeals to get this surgery, that is not automatically covered by any insurance, covered by their insurance. Without insurance the surgery would cost around 50,000. Thankfully, they do have some initial approvals/authorizations which should keep the cost lower. The exact amount they will owe for the surgery won’t be known till after the surgery happens. The money we are raising here is to help the Barretts with the known costs they will have as they stay in California for the surgery and recovery for three weeks.
This money will go toward the following items:
· Surgery Prepayment: $1,500 ($2,500 down payment was payed previously)
· Insurance Deductible: $1,000
· Hotel/Travel Expenses: Approx. $2,500+
Any donation big or small will make a huge difference for Natalie and her parents.
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- Brandi Edmonds
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