Pioneering surgery opened his airway
When Jacob was born, his esophagus had not formed properly and was attached to the trachea—a condition called esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula. Jacob could not swallow, was gasping for breath and could have potentially drowned in his own secretions.
Only surgery could save his life, and it would be quite risky for a newborn. The incision would be long and his recovery complicated.