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  • Writer's pictureApple HMS

Chadlee - Apple Pick of the Month

Chadlee Ray was born on December 19, 2018 at 26 weeks gestation, weighing a whopping 1 pound 7 ounces at birth. He was diagnosed with chronic lung disease, hypothyroidism and pulmonary hypertension, and was immediately intubated and placed on a high frequency ventilator. Chadlee also had a very large PDA and ASD (holes in his heart). On day 12 of life he contracted a staph infection and was not expected to live, but this was only the first of many times doctors underestimated Chadlee's strength. At 5 weeks old he was flown to Children’s Health in Dallas in an effort to repair the PDA in his heart. The surgery was successful and Chadlee was able to extubate 5 days after the surgery!

Chadlee was flown back to Amarillo on March 5, 2019 and was able to thrive and finish out his very lengthy 186 day NICU stay. He was able to spend 1 week at home with his family before going into respiratory failure. He was then intubated again and transferred from Amarillo to Dallas for treatment on July 1, 2019. While there, doctors told his family on several occasions that if he made it through the night it would be a miracle. In Dallas his family was informed that he would need to have a trach placed to be able to provide the respiratory support for him to thrive. The team at Children’s Health were not equipped to proceed with the surgery, and said the best option was going to be to transfer hospitals again, this time to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

After the team in Dallas was able to stabilize him enough to make a flight to Houston, Chadlee finally got clearance on August 29, 2019. Once he arrived at Texas Children's Hospital, the doctors began to work diligently to get him the support he needed. He was taken for a heart cath to measure the pressures in his heart and lungs. This would give clearer information on the severity of his condition. The news was not as bad as expected. Chadlee only had one vein that needed intervention. The cath gave clearance for the trach surgery to be scheduled, and he received his trach on September 9, 2019.

Chadlee had several very rough months, yet he was able to overcome all of the obstacles placed in his way. Not long after his first birthday, Chadlee had a miraculous turning point. On January 3, 2020 Chadlee coded - his family thought this was end, however, this event was Chadlee’s reset. From this point forward the good days by far out weighed the bad days. He started getting better and there was finally hope that he was going to make it home. In mid-March of 2020, the medical team began to wean Chadlee off the sedation medicine and were able to discontinue the paralytic. He was finally able to wake up and begin doing therapies to gain strength and start doing normal baby things.

On April 21, 2020, Chadlee was discharged from TCH. After 296 days he finally made it back home! Life at home in Amarillo was tough due to the weather and elevation changes, but he was able to be home for a month before going back to Houston for observation and another heart cath. During this hospital stay his family was informed that he is “outgrowing” the pulmonary hypertension. Chadlee was able to go back home again on June 18, 2020. He has spent about 8 of his 24 months of life at home with his family, but we have faith that he will continue to thrive and those grueling hospital months will be a thing of the past. Chadlee is such a gift from God and definitely has a purpose. He is a miracle child. 

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