IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) — Keona Mock is four, and that’s how many hours her family spent in the car to get her to treatments at a Louisiana hospital until her doctor moved to Iowa.
Now the family travels even longer for checkups.
Keona’s life to this point has been a long journey.
“In the very beginning, we never even heard her cry,” said Tammy Mock, her mother.
Tammy adopted Keona at a young age, and Keona was dealt a massive challenge.
After serious abuse, she was brought to a New Orleans hospital with broken legs and ribs and was in a coma.
“She had developed brain clots. And she went essentially into what we call respiratory depression and couldn’t breathe by herself. So she ended up getting a breathing tube in her wind pipe and being hooked up to a ventilator so she could actually breathe,” said Dr. Sohit Kanotra, Keona’s doctor.
Dr. Kanotra was the family’s doctor in Louisiana, and the family had to travel a long way to see him.
“The family lived four hours away from the hospital, so it’s a very small town in Louisiana,” he said.
But after many visits and many surgeries, Keona was no longer without a voice.
“The first words she said was ‘hi,’” Tammy said. “And it was just an overwhelming moment.”
Even after all Keona has gone through, she still needs to see a doctor at least once a year.
But that became even harder when Dr. Kanotra took a job at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
“They were looking for somebody who could build up their Peds Airway program, and I was already doing that in New Orleans, so I think that the match was pretty made in heaven and we decided to come to Iowa,” Dr. Kanotra said.
So Keona and the family followed.
They still live in New Orleans and are making the trip to see their doctor.
“The relationship and the bond that was created between Dr. Kanotra and Keona was one that couldn’t be replaced,” Tammy said.
Even during the pandemic, where as recently as last week, they drove 16 hours each way.
“She was only like four pounds. And to see her now, she’s definitely exceeded all of that,” Tammy said. “”She definitely is a miracle.”