Choking On a Sandwich Sent a High School Boy to the Hospital for Months

At first, 14-year-old Alec Hebblethwaite and his family thought he kept choking on his food due to eating too quickly or talking mid-bite, yet, after some time they learned he was suffering from a rare disease called eosinophilic esophagitis, reported NZ Herald.

Eosinophilic esophagitis, also known as EoE, is a rare autoimmune disorder that makes ones esophagus so sensitive, it’s can rupture from even the smallest cracker. To learn more about this rare condition, click here.

When unknown, the disease can be lethal, and Alec had to learn the hard way when identifying what was wrong.

A seemingly small choking incident at school over a cracker, turned into four months of hospitalization and close medical attention. He was initially sent home from his first doctor visit after the incident and told to stay away from hard foods.  He then had a much more serious choking moment when eating a sandwich at a soccer game, thus leading to his hospitalization due to ripping his esophagus. It took nearly seven months for the doctors to diagnose the real problem.

Alec was scheduled to undergo surgery to fix the rupture, yet they quickly learned he had developed a chest infection that needed attention. The disease is known to cause other types of problems as well. Sometimes it can lead to throat tumors, neck injuries, vomiting and even ulcers. It’s an intense disease that can cause a lot of physical damage, as well as be life-threatening if not managed correctly.

Alec was then requiredto have a blood transfusion, and tubes inserted into his chest for buildup relief. He also had a stent put in his esophagus to help heal it post trauma. It was a long and unexpected journey for Alec and his family, yet he kept his spirits high and continued to fight through all the medical procedures. He is now on the mend and hopes to make a full recovery, treat his disease properly, and make the soccer team this next year!

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