When 6-week-old Kaiba Gionfriddo was admitted to an Ohio hospital after his breathing had stopped at a local restaurant, doctors thought he had merely breathed food or liquid into his lungs, reports CNN.
But two days later, when Kaiba's father had to once again perform CPR on him, the family knew something was seriously wrong.
Once at the hospital, Kailba was receiving CPR regularly, his mother, April Gionfriddo, told CNN. "I didn't think he was going to leave the hospital alive," she said.
That's when doctors decided to take a chance on an experimental procedure that had never before been tried on a human—creating a splint made of biological materials that would provide a clear passage through the baby's blocked airway.
"It's magical to me," Dr. Glenn Green, an associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan who implanted the splint in Gionfriddo told CNN. "We're talking about taking dust and using it to build body parts."
Fifteen months later, at 18 months old, Kaiba is still visiting doctors but continues to breathe on his own.