Story of Healing
De Soto Parish
After having four wonderful sons, Timmy and Bridget McInnis of Keachi, LA, a small town in DeSoto Parish, were elated to welcome a baby girl, Chloe, in 2020. However, at Bridget’s 12-week ultrasound, Chloe was measuring smaller than expected. That discovery led to multiple doctor’s appointments every couple weeks to consistently monitor Chloe’s measurements.
On January 17, 2020, Chloe was born a few weeks early and even smaller than anticipated. Chloe and her family stayed in the NICU for 22 days total, where she underwent numerous tests, including a ‘heel stick,’ in which a blood sample was taken from Chloe’s heel and tested. After results from that heel stick came back, Chloe was diagnosed with a metabolic condition called phenylketonuria or PKU, which causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body and requires a strict diet of limited protein. PKU is a condition that requires lifelong care.
Coincidentally, Bridget met a mother of twins at the same hospital, and one of the twins also had PKU. That mother connected Bridget to Children’s Hospital New Orleans. Just a couple days after Chloe was able to leave the NICU and go home, the McInnis family packed up and drove to New Orleans to visit Children’s Hospital and its Genetics Team.
“The team at CHNOLA is amazing,” shared Chloe’s mom, Bridget. “As soon as we walked in, Chloe really took to everyone there. She was even walking around with the receptionist’s glasses on her face!”
Chloe’s condition requires constant monitoring, and while the McInnis family originally arranged to visit Children’s Hospital New Orleans regularly, the COVID-19 pandemic has prohibited them from physically attending appointments. Now, Chloe and her parents communicate with her care team virtually every six months.
“We just love Dr. Regina Zambrano,” gushed Bridget. “They have really done amazing work caring for Chloe.”
Chloe will be two years old in January. “She’s a sassy girl,” laughed Bridget. “She loves to play with her four older brothers, she loves to play with her baby dolls, and she loves her black cat named Lucky.”
While PKU is a rare condition, it’s one that all parents should research and learn about more, Bridget concluded. “I had four boys already and had heard about the heel stick test, but I really had no idea.” Learn more about the Children’s Hospital Genetics team here.