February 09, 2021
Las Vegas, NV – For months, 28 year old Hannah Fraser was getting sick and she didn’t know why. She was in and out of emergency rooms with cyclical fevers starting in September.
“No one could figure it out,” Fraser said. “They told me, this is a disease with a distinct behavior that they’d never seen.”
Doctors worked around the clock trying to figure out what was making Hannah sick. Hannah’s fevers continued and in January she began to develop chest pain and was diagnosed with pneumonia.
Hannah’s doctor was Dr. John Wojcik, a cardiovascular and pulmonary disease specialist.
“Dr. Wojcik worked so hard to try to figure out what was wrong with me,” Fraser said. “We knew it was something rare and possibly something he hadn’t seen before. Dr. Wojcik took my case and brought it in from of his whole practice so everyone could try to figure out what was wrong.”
Dr. Wojcik and his team, figured out Hannah was suffering from an extremely rare condition called congenital bronchial atresia. The first case of congenital bronchial atresia was discovered in 1953. Since then there have only been about approximately 100 other known cases, mainly found only in men.
“What’s interesting about congenital bronchial atresia is often these patients present with no past medical history,” Dr. Wojcik said. “They show up in our emergency departments with fevers and cough. This disease is also so rare, we don’t know a lot about it yet. We were determined to figure out what was making Hannah sick so we could fix it.”
Doctors were able to determine the Hannah’s fevers and sickness was being caused by an infection from the congenital bronchial atresia. If left untreated, Hannah could die. Hannah’s care team assembled a plan to remove nearly half of her lung, right before her 29th birthday.
Hannah was scheduled to have surgery, Monday, February 9th, a day before her 29th birthday.
Two days before Hannah’s surgery, dozens of family and friends gathered outside the hospital to wish her a Happy Birthday.
“I had no idea this was happening,” said Fraser.
Hannah walked to the fourth floor window and was floored with emotion as she watched family and friends sing her happy birthday.
The following Monday, Hannah went into surgery.
On Hannah’s actual birthday, Tuesday, February 9th, a day after surgery, Hospital staff surprised her with cake, balloons and her favorite drink, Dr. Pepper.
Hannah is recovering well and says she’s just thankful to see another birthday.