In the late afternoon of March 4, 2015, Eli Thompson was born a healthy, happy boy — but to his parents’ surprise, he was born without a nose.
Weighing at 6 pounds, 8 ounces, doctors told parents, Brandi McGlathery and Troy Thompson, that their newborn son was diagnosed with complete congenital arhinia, a life-threatening condition that results in the complete absence of the nose at birth.
“I pulled back and said, ‘Something’s wrong!’McGlathery told reporters. “And the doctor said, ‘No, he’s perfectly fine.’ Then I shouted, ‘He doesn’t have a nose!’ I was the first person to see it. Even when they took him away, my family still didn’t know something was wrong, due to being caught up in the excitement of his arrival. It wasn’t until they opened the blinds of the nursery that everyone else saw.”
There are roughly 30 reported cases of the condition, globally.
Shortly after birth, Eli naturally started to breathe out of his mouth. He spent his first few days outside of the womb in the Women’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, and required a tracheotomy and a feeding bag inserted into his stomach, but he has now transitioned to life at home.
The condition affects Eli’s pituitary glands, McGlathery said, and he will be unable to undergo facial surgery to construct nasal passageways until past puberty. However, Eli’s parents explain that the decision for an artificial nose will be his to make —his parents love him just the way he is.
“We think he’s perfect the way he is,” McGlathery said. “Until the day he wants to have a nose, we don’t want to touch him. We have to take it day by day.”
“We’re going to do our best to make sure he’s happy. The rest of him is so cute, sometimes you don’t realize he doesn’t have a nose,” she said.