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Little girl undergoes multiple procedures after swallowing teddy bear’s plastic eye

Hailey Wudwud is bright-eyed and overflowing with joy. You would never know by looking at her that for the past year, she’s been in and out of the intensive care unit at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.
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Hailey stayed positive despite long stays in the intensive care unit after her throat was damaged by a plastic eyeball.

Hailey’s favourite hobby is swimming, but she hasn’t been able to do it.

The plastic eye-ball that Hailey swallowed last year.

Hailey’s dad said she is “just about unaffected by it mentally and socially.”

Hailey Wudwud is bright-eyed and overflowing with joy. You would never know by looking at her that for the past year, she’s been in and out of the intensive care unit at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

Last July, when Hailey was just a year old, her parents noticed something was wrong.

“She started to show signs of, like, asthma or a chest infection,” explained her father Lance Payne. “We didn’t know that she had swallowed [a plastic eyeball].”

Hailey stayed positive despite long stays in the intensive care unit after her throat was damaged by a plastic eyeball.

Hailey had swallowed a teddy bear’s plastic eye, but it went undetected. That’s when hospital trips became routine for the family, including a three-month stay in the ICU.

“Unfortunately, no one could find anything for us or give us an exact answer because we did start to treat asthmatic symptoms,” Payne said.

On Feb. 7, the family finally found what was causing Hailey so much pain.

READ MORE: Grapes, candies and hot dogs among most common choking hazards for children under 5

“They found the object and after that, we started to get into small day surgeries,” he said. “Because the item was so deep, we had no way to find it.

“Because of the density of your bones and the density of this object, they match so well that you can’t see it behind her breastplate, or from the side.

“Her rib cage really interferes with the picture of it, so, unfortunately, no one really knew that it was there.”

Hailey’s favourite hobby is swimming, but she hasn’t been able to do it.

Although the family now has an answer, the road to recovery still lies ahead. Payne said doctors found holes in Hailey’s throat, which caused it to collapse.

Because of this, she’s fed formula through a tube. Each feeding takes one hour and she’s fed five times a day. It’s a cycle the family is eager to get out of.

“I would really like for her to be able to have pancakes or cereal for breakfast instead of her formula. It’s very unsettling that she has [become] so used to it,” he said.

READ MORE: Molly Moo doll recalled; nose bead a choking risk for young children

Through the long medical journey, which still isn’t over, Hailey’s family says they’ve been given a gift. They say she’s a spectacle of resilience.

“She is just about unaffected by it mentally and socially,” Payne said.

The plastic eye-ball that Hailey swallowed last year.

File / Global News

Hailey hasn’t been able to swim — her favourite hobby — due to her tubing, but she does almost everything else she used to do, like “fight with her sisters or wrestle with the dog, go play with her toys, and yell at the TV.”

Now, with a date set for reconstructive throat surgery in August, the family has advice for other parents worried something may be wrong.

“Please keep pushing [for answers], and double-check, triple-check.”

Hailey’s dad said she is “just about unaffected by it mentally and socially.”

Provided / Karlon Wudwud

Payne says the family is, of course, hoping for a full recovery after her surgery, but also has one modest wish for Hailey’s near future.

“I would really love for her to have Christmas dinner.”

taylor.braat@globalnews.ca




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