POSTED: Saturday, May 4, 2013 - 2:00pm
UPDATED: Monday, May 6, 2013 - 9:36am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Hannah Warren is making history just by breathing.
The 2-year-old from South Korea was born with a rare and often fatal abnormality.
She was born with no windpipe and couldn't breathe on her own, but on April 9 at Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, Hannah's surgical team went where no doctors had gone before.
That 9-hour operation is making national headlines.
"This would be the future of organ transplantation," said Dr. Richard Pearl, co-surgeon on Hannah's case. "This is like a new chapter in medicine, and you're kind of looking at it right now. You're looking into the future right now."
Hannah is the first child ever in the world to receive a bio-artificial trachea, made from her own stem cells, which virtually eliminates the risk of her body rejecting the transplant.
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