Gratitude at Hasbro Children's Hospital

Gratitude at Rhode Island Hospital

Gratitude is...part of the healing process.
... life changing.
... always appreciated.

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"The team at Hasbro Children's Hospital has been amazing. They follow up on everything and are always so patient with the questions I have. It was a hard road in the beginning for us, and we're just so grateful for the doctors and other medical staff. Thanks to them, we got through it."

— Bobby’s mother, Courtney King

Courtney King was surprised when, in June 2020, she went into labor five weeks before her due date. She was even more surprised when she learned that her son, Bobby, was born with cleft lip and palate. The birth defect had not appeared on any of Bobby’s prenatal ultrasounds.

From his earliest days, Bobby struggled with complications due to the cleft lip and palate. He had hearing loss as a result of fluid buildup in his ears, and he had difficulty feeding and gaining weight.

After five days in the NICU at another hospital, Bobby was referred to the Cleft and Craniofacial Center at Hasbro Children’s. Through the center’s genetic testing, Courtney learned that Bobby has a rare genetic condition called Van der Woude syndrome, which caused him to develop cleft lip and palate.

When Bobby was four-months old, Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery Albert Woo, MD, FACS, successfully performed the baby’s first surgery – a cleft lip repair to fix the opening in his upper lip and optimize the symmetry of his nose.

Before the surgery Bobby had an orthopedic treatment called Nasoalveolar Molding (NAM), which reshapes the gum, lip, and nostrils by using dental molds and tape. The procedure was instrumental to his positive outcome, and Hasbro Children’s is one of the few institutions in New England that provides the treatment.

The following June, in 2021, Bobby underwent a second surgery to repair his cleft palate. Dr. Woo performed an innovative surgical technique he developed, which has been proven to improve long-term speech outcomes for patients.

Today, Bobby is thriving and living like a typical one-and-a-half-year-old. His hearing has normalized; he has started to talk; and he no longer has trouble eating. “He’s an endless eater – I can’t keep up,” Courtney says with a laugh.


"I made this painting to say thank you to Dr Luks. I hope it makes him and other people happy. He took care of me when I was sick and he was nice. Hasbro Children's Hospital means a lot to me because without their help I might have died."

Saoirse, Patient

In late 2015, when Saoirse was just two-and-a-half, Francois Luks, MD, Pediatric Surgeon-in-Chief performed emergency surgery to remove one of her kidneys and an adrenal gland after a Wilms tumor on her kidney had burst. Looking back, her mother Marcella says she cannot fully describe the shock and despair she felt when her daughter was diagnosed with stage 3-4 cancer and rushed into the operating room. After the surgery, Saoirse required several months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.


“Hasbro Children’s saved my son’s life. We appreciate them because without their dedication, hard work, and service where would we be? Where would my son be if we did not have them to save his life?”

Jaysaiah’s mother, Shavonne

At the age of five, Jaysaiah had a bleed in his brain due to abnormal blood vessels, also known as Brain AVM. He immediately had three surgeries to block and remove these blood vessels, but the fourth surgery was the most intense. Surgeon Konstantina Svokos, MD, and her team removed more than 400 tiny, abnormal blood vessels during the 24-hour procedure. During surgery he suffered a small minor stroke which led to a loss in movement on his left side. Jaysaiah had to learn how to swallow and eat again, but fortunately his memory and verbal skills were not impacted. After three weeks at Hasbro Children’s, and four weeks at inpatient rehab, he gained a lot of strength back. He continues to make amazing strides day-by-day with the help of occupational and physical therapies.

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