Lincoln Co. boy with severe respiratory issues defies odds

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Samuel Kase Chaney is a loud and rambunctious three-year-old from Lincoln County who has beaten the odds to be here.

Parents Craig and Hannah Chaney first were told they wouldn't be able to have kids.

Then, while she was pregnant, Hannah was hit by a car.

Kase arrived ahead of his due date in 2015.

When he was just two weeks old, his parents took Kase to the emergency room because he'd turned blue.

"Thought it was viral, sent us home. It happened again, had to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation," Hannah Chaney said.

Kase wasn't getting enough oxygen.

Eventually, doctors realized his condition was caused by a "floppy" collapsible airway.

"The main windpipe and then the two main windpipes that go to the lungs, they were severely floppy or malacic, and so when he's working hard to breathe, they would very nearly collapse," explained Dr. Kenneth Iverson, a pediatric ear, nose and throat physician at the University of Kentucky's Kentucky Clinic.

Doctors initially told his parents Kase might not live past six months.

Young Kase would become all too familiar with the inside of hospital rooms, at one point spending 98 straight days inside the pediatric intensive care unit at Kentucky Children's Hospital.

Early on, doctors installed a tracheal tube and put Kase on a ventilator to try to improve his breathing.

"Dr. Iverson took part of a rib out and used that to stent open Kase's airway. His airway went from 18 percent open to 80 percent open," his mom said.

Multiple surgeries and a slew of tests and procedures later, Kase's condition has vastly improved, so much so that in July, his tracheal and feeding tubes were finally removed.

His parents said his progress is nothing short of a miracle, one for which they are immensely grateful.

"They say it takes a village to raise a kid, but it's taken an entire hospital and a small community to raise ours," Hannah Chaney said. "For our nurses, our doctors, the people in our town, our little neighborhood, they're wonderful, we just love them all."

Hospital officials said Kase is the youngest child at UK to have his airway reconstructed.

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