Prenatal Orthopedic Consult Program Provides Parents with Roadmap
When Rhonda and Jody Helms, M.D., traveled to China to adopt a 2-year-old boy – they knew their new son-to-be, David, had lived with club feet since birth. They also knew that seeking care as soon as possible to treat the condition would be important for the youngest of their five children.
Now, Rhonda is helping other mothers gain awareness of the Prenatal Orthopedic Consult Program at Shriners Children’s Greenville. It is a program helping families with children diagnosed with conditions — like club feet, limb deficiency, spina bifida and arthrogryposis – plan ahead to help achieve the best outcomes for their child.
“The Prenatal Orthopedic Consult Program is a service that our hospital provides to expectant families and expectant mothers, especially those who have gotten a diagnosis from an ultrasound from their obstetrician with a concerning finding – like club feet – on their prenatal evaluation,” said David Westberry, M.D., a Shriners Children's pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
Each family’s journey begins with a hospital tour and an educational meeting with a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Routinely ranked among the top 5% of all comparable hospitals nationwide for Patient Experience by the prestigious Press Ganey organization, Shriners Children’s Greenville staff members provide customized treatment plans that include life-changing services.
“If we had early intervention, David’s feet would be more mobile now,” said Helms. “He would be able to jump on his toes. The early intervention would have let him have a more mobile foot, to where he didn’t have so much pain after exerting or any kind of exercise or activity.”
Lauren Hyer, M.D., one of only three female pediatric orthopedic surgeons in the state, also contributes her expertise to the program.
“Based on what we’re suspecting, we will lay out a plan of what the parents should expect in the first couple of days to weeks of life. Then, we’ll do broad strokes for further in the future,” said Dr. Hyer. “For arthrogryposis, if we get to these children early, we are able to get them in therapy to get their joints moving, which can open the door to improved function and quality of life.”
Dr. Hyer said that the same is true for children with limb deficiencies and spina bifida, and that meeting with key healthcare providers sooner can put the family at greater ease. She said the comprehensive treatment options available in one location at Shriners Children’s Greenville, which includes surgical, physical and occupational therapy, and prosthetics and orthotic services, can lessen stress for new parents.
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