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Kelly Scrivines and her daughter, Emily, 16, sat in a hospital room in the intensive care unit at Yale New Haven Hospital recently, watching for signs that three-year-old Mason knew they were there. They flew to his side when he opened his big blue eyes slightly: they looked at him and spoke encouraging words.
Mason was born with tracheobronchomalacia, a floppy airway which required a tracheotomy, a procedure to create an artificial airway in his neck. He spent most of his first two years of life on a ventilator, until he had a 13-hour airway reconstruction surgery last March at Boston Children's Hospital and weaned off the ventilator.