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From Panic to Promise: D'artanian's Story

Shriners Children's has helped D'artanian get back to one of his favorite things, the playground!

When D'artanian was 3 years old, he was heading home from his aunt’s house with his mom when the car ended up striking a tree at a high speed. They were both severely injured and lucky to have survived.

D'artanian was in the hospital for many days before he was released home to his father, Michael. The next day Michael realized his son could not move his left arm, chest and back. “He couldn’t so much as turn his neck,” said Michael. “Mom was still in the hospital. It was just my son and I. It was a very scary moment.”

After making a few panicked phone calls, Michael was referred to a local orthopedic center near his home in Eugene, Oregon. They suspected D’artanian had a brachial plexus (Erb's palsy) and peripheral nerve injury and recommended Michael call Shriners Children’s Portland. “The doctor there knew Dr. Freese and assured us he was the best,” said Michael.

Michael was nervous bringing D’artanian for his appointment, not knowing the extent of his injury, which sounded very scary, and coming to a new facility. However, as they entered the doors, he immediately felt better as he saw how his family was welcomed. “We could tell Shriners Children’s was a fantastic place,” said Michael. “It felt very safe and you can tell everyone cares very much about their jobs and the children they care for.”

After D’artanian was examined and X-ray images were reviewed, it was discovered that the nerves were completely detached from his spinal cord and could not be reattached. “It was one the hardest things we ever had to go through,” said Michael. “I felt so lucky to be at Shriners Children’s at that time. They were very kind and understanding. They gave us hope and options.”

Krister Freese, M.D. remembers that first appointment well. “D’artanian had a very significant injury to his brachial plexus,” said Dr. Freese. “We were able to formulate a plan and discuss with Michael the likelihood of recovery and what that recovery might look like.”

Shriners Children’s has state-of-the-art care and wonderful and smart people there who care very much for children. I believe that D’artanian would not have use of his left side if was not for Shriners Children’s.
Michael, D'artanian's dad

Michael appreciated the time Dr. Freese spent with them. “He was so encouraging helping us with options and not giving up hope,” said Michael. “Dr. Freese discussed with us that our best option was a nerve transfer surgery. We were nervous about it, but he kept reassuring us and knowing he would be the one doing the surgery really helped.”

The nerve transfer was successful with no complications and D’artanian recovered quickly. Just three months after the surgery, D’artanian started moving his tricep. Shortly after that, his bicep started moving and he continues to improve every day.

D’artanian does his favorite things

After a car accident left D’artanian’s upper left side limp, it was discovered he had suffered a brachial plexus injury. After a successful nerve transfer surgery at Shriners Children’s Portland, D’artanian gets movement in his left arm gets better everyday.
View Transcript

Speaker 1: I might do it.

Speaker 2: Do it. You did it.

Dr. Freese attributes part of D’artanian’s quick recovery to how quickly he was brought to Shriners Children’s after the injury. “Early intervention is incredibly important with brachial plexus and peripheral nerve injuries,” said Dr. Freese. “Seeing patients like D’artanian do so well after such a major injury is what we hope for our patients.”

Michael calls watching his son recovering from surgery and seeing him continue to gain his mobility, a blessing. Now D’artanian can get back to what he loves, like riding his bike and getting back on the playground. “He is now able to climb the structures and swing on the swings,” said Michael.

From Injury to Joy

D’artanian's nerve injuries don't seem to slow him down much these days.

D'artanian wit facial injuries sits in a wagon wrapped in blanket in hospital

D'artanian suffered multiple injuries after the car accident.

D'artanian riding his bike

Just three months after nerve replacement surgery, D'artanian started gaining mobility in his arm.

D'artanian holding rocks while sitting on bike

D'artanian's mobility continues to improve every day.

Excellence in Care

 .4 - 4 per 1,000 live births
have occurrences of brachial plexus injuries.

of bracial plexus birth injuries heal on their own

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