When Winslow was born he failed his hearing screening and was not eating. He was admitted to Kosair Children’s Hospital (now Norton Children’s Hospital) at just four days old and two days later, the family went home with a new feeding technique. When that didn’t work, his pediatrician recommended the newborn quickly see a team of specialists.
Winslow was diagnosed with Pierre Robin Sequence. He couldn’t swallow or breathe correctly, and had severe hearing loss. During emergency surgery, he received a feeding tube, a lip-tongue fusion and underwent a multitude of other procedures.
First-time parents Ann and Breck were terrified because both were self-employed. “Self-insured insurance policies are not great for this sort of thing,” Ann said. They were reluctant to contact Kosair Charities when a friend suggested it, but were relieved when they quickly stepped in to pay many of their substantial medical bills.
Winslow’s stomach issues eventually cleared up, but his hearing remains a challenge. Traditional hearing aids do not work for him, so he wears a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) that includes a headband with a stereo microphone and an oscillator that transmits sound to his inner ear. Because insurance would not cover it, Kosair Charities helped pay for his BAHA as well as an FM system for his current device.
Winslow’s parents are extremely grateful for the early intervention, which was key in developing his speech patterns. “Most people who hear him talk don’t realize he has any hearing loss,” Breck says. Winslow and his family have worked with several organizations that receive support from Kosair Charities, including Heuser Hearing Institute, Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center and the former Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Center.
Ann said, “Kosair Charities told us from the beginning, ‘Send us your doctor bills. We will take care of this.’ We were already stressed out — having a newborn is overwhelming as it is, even without our circumstances. For them to take that off the table in the first few months helped us clear our heads and focus on good early intervention for Winslow.”
Today, Winslow is active, charming and highly social. “I used to worry about whether he would ever talk,” Ann says, laughing. “Now I wonder if he’ll ever shut up!”