Toddler Who Survived An Accident Celebrates A Milestone Doctors Weren’t Sure She’d See

When a one-year-old girl from Long Island suffered a brutal attack, her family didn’t know if she’d make it. There was no rhyme or reason for such a horrific incident, but her family and doctors were elated to see her recover like a champ! In fact, when little Alessia Sansotta-Ingrasselino hit a big milestone, a particularly special guest was there to celebrate alongside her, leaving many people in tears.

March 6, 2020 was a dark day for the Sansotta-Ingrasselino family, as that was when their 20-month-old daughter Alessia was mauled by a family member’s pit bull. Sweet Alessia’s face endured the consequences.

GoFundMe

Tragically, the dog fractured Alessia’s jaw, broke and shattered bones in her nasal passage. That left her with a missing alveolar, which is “the bony ridge that contains the sockets of the upper teeth,” as stated by her GoFundMe page.

George Toradze / YouTube

The devastating attack also exposed and fractured the tendons in Alessia’s eyeball, jawline and skull. It was all so sudden and extreme, and the Sansotta-Ingrasselinos had no time to panic. Alessia was rushed into a 12-hour emergency surgery.

Little Alessia was treated in Good Samaritan Hospital and Stony Brook Children’s Medical Hospital, with several health complications following her between institutions. The toddler needed a ventilator to breathe properly.

Alessia was hooked up to an ECMO machine on March 13th at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, but was taken off of it once her heart rate, oxygen, and blood pressure levels stabilized. These were good signs — baby steps in the right direction.

HonorHealth

After trips to an array of hospitals and one major surgery, Alessia cruised the road toward a fabulous recovery. And after she fully recuperated, Alessia went under for another life-changing reconstructive surgery… a rather pricy one.

Dr. Rachel A. Ruotolo / Facebook

“As soon as her little body takes a break and starts healing her reconstructive surgery will begin,” Angela Angela Sansotta, Alessia’s aunt, wrote on the GoFundMe page she set up for the second surgery.

GoFundMe

“Again this is a long road to recovery but we are just so blessed and so thankful and so grateful that everyone’s prayers have been answered and kept Alessia safe and so strong!!” Amanda’s post continued. The page has raised about $50,000 since posted.

Angela personally contacted Dr. Rachel Ruotolo, a pediatric plastic craniofacial surgeon working at Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, PC, asking her to perform Alessia’s reconstructive surgery. “When she reached out to me and asked if I could help her niece, there was no question or doubt in my mind,” Dr. Ruotolo said.

Dr. Rachel A. Ruotolo / Facebook

“If I was physically able to do it, I would. It was something I felt I could take care of with experience,” she continued telling People. And on March 19th, Alessia received the facial reconstruction surgery led by Dr. Ruotolo herself.

Dr. Rachel A. Ruotolo / Facebook

With a piece of Alessia’s rib and cartilage, Dr. Ruotolo reconstructed her nose, fixed her fractures with “resorbable plates,” and reattached the broken tendon to “realign her eye,” as relayed by Alessia’s family.

Dr. Rachel A. Ruotolo / Facebook

Her recovery went perfectly as planned, and Alessia was discharged from the hospital on April 4th. “We are so happy to report that Alessia is doing GREAT!! She is back to her beautiful smiling self!!” her Aunt Angela said. And soon enough, she was back to singing along with Queen Elsa.

CBS

“If she’s not singing her favorite Frozen and Moana songs, we are most definitely singing to Lava… Whether she’s coloring, playing with stickers, playing on the iPad of course, Alessia is getting better and better every day!!” Angela continued. Speaking of the island princess, Alessia would soon celebrate a life milestone.

ABC 7

On July 12th, about four months after the attack, Alessia celebrated her 2nd birthday at her very own Moana-themed birthday party, which was adorably adorned with leis and Hawaiian flowers. And a very special guest attended the event.

Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, PC

“I’m very thankful I was able to make it. It was very special to see Alessia be a normal 2-year-old girl and have fun at her party… It was a really wonderful celebration of this little girl’s journey and resilience,” Dr. Ruotolo explained to People.

Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, PC

“It definitely was a surreal feeling. When I was standing there at the end, and Moana was there and dancing with Alessia, it was impossible not to get emotional watching that because of where she came from. It was very special to be able to be there,” Dr. Ruotolo said.

GoFundMe

Dr. Ruotolo is committed to forming special bonds with her patients like she did with Alessia. “I have a very intimate connection with my patients. I’m not just their surgeon and I try to make myself as available to them as possible,” she detailed.

Dr. Rachel A. Ruotolo / Facebook

“There’s a huge emotional aspect of it and it’s a very large part of what I do.” Since Alessia is a growing girl, she’ll need more surgeries in the future, which Dr. Ruotolo plans on performing. “It’s for the long haul,” the doc said.

LongIslandPSG / YouTube

Ruotolo explained her main goal was to make it look as though there was never an accident. “You can’t take away the psychological aspects of this — which I hope she has no memory of — but if we can make her physically look like this didn’t happen, then it’s a home run.”

ABC 7

“Anybody that looks at Alessia for the rest of her life is looking at what she’s done,” Alessia’s mother, Dianna Sansotta-Ingrasselino, gratefully said of Dr. Ruotolo. And while Dr. Ruotolo would forever be special to the Sansotta-Ingrasselino family, Dr. Jorge Sotolongo would always have a place in the hearts of Kristina McIntosh’s family.

ABC 7

When expectant parents Kristina McIntosh and Kyle Smith of Omaha, Nebraska, learned that Kristina was going to give birth to their daughter on her birthday, they were elated. But as it so happens, pregnancies are unpredictable — and it seemed like the baby had other plans!

After experiencing extremely painful contractions prior to her due date, Kristina rushed to Bergan Mercy Hospital to have her doctor assess the situation. It was then that she learned she was going to have to deliver her child earlier than expected.

Not only was Kristina going to give birth early, but she couldn’t do it naturally. “My contractions were so bad that [the baby] was just constantly quivering, so they had to do an emergency C-section,” Kristina later recalled.

Thankfully, their doctor delivered little Hunter-Rose, a healthy baby girl, safely. Still, it was what happened after her birth that left the new parents — and their doctor — completely speechless…

When the new parents were handed their daughter’s birth certificate, they made a startling discovery about their doctor, Dr. Jorge Sotolongo. As it turned out, this wasn’t the first time they met him…

In fact, not only had Dr. Sotolongo just delivered their newborn daughter, but he’d also delivered both Kristina and Kyle when they were born—at the exact same hospital! Here, you can see Kristina as an infant just after Dr. Sotolongo delivered her.

Neither Kristina nor Kyle remembered Dr. Sotolongo by name, of course—they were too young. But in preparation for their daughter’s birth, they’d reviewed their own birth certificates, and they just so happened to glance at the name of their delivering doctor!

“It was weird because I had never met him in my life,” Kristina said. She also explained her own mother’s reaction to the news. “But my mom’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I know him, he’s great.'” Kyle, pictured here as a baby, felt the same way.

While Dr. Sotolongo was performing the C-section, he had no idea that he was going to be part of such a special family story. But after Hunter-Rose’s delivery, he chatted with Kyle—and that was how he learned of his close ties to the family. He couldn’t believe it.

Dr. Sotolongo was obviously excited to find out he’d delivered Kristina, Kyle, and now Hunter-Rose. “I was surprised,” he recalled later about the coincidence. “I was very surprised. I realized I’ve been doing this for a while.”

“He comes over, ‘Everything went great,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, it was probably the same situation when you delivered me,’ and he had kind of a puzzled look,” Kyle recalled. “And that’s when I told him… He was kind of shocked.”

Having worked in the same hospital for 28 years, it was only a matter of time before Dr. Sotolongo delivered the child of someone he’d previously helped to bring into the world. Not that he’d ever expected it to happen, though!

Having been delivered by the same doctor, it was as if there was already an instant bond between the parents, their newborn daughter, and Dr. Sotolongo. “It’s kind of cool in my mind to have us all be delivered by the same doctor,” Kyle added.

While Kristina’s mother wasn’t initially at the hospital to welcome her granddaughter into the world, she was sure to swing by the next day! Of course, in addition to the excitement of being a grandma, she was also elated to see Dr. Sotolongo once more.

To commemorate the rare occasion, Dr. Sotolongo took a group photo with the family. All the while, everyone was sure to joke around about the chance that he might be the one to deliver Hunter-Rose’s future children!

“Maybe in the future I can deliver the child,” Dr. Sotolongo joked while contemplating the possibility of delivering a third generation of one family’s children. “Who knows! I’ll be very old.”

Even though their delivery didn’t go exactly as planned, Kristina and Kyle were certainly happy with the end result. Not only was their baby healthy, but they even got to meet the very doctor who delivered them, too!

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