Hope for Jacqueline
Shriners Children’s Philadelphia specializes in the on-site crafting of prosthetics and orthotics for the patients at the facility.
Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) designs, fabricates and delivers approximately 2,500 devices to patients each year. Sometimes we have instances where a patient may require both an orthotic and a prosthetic at the same time. A prosthosis is the combination of a prosthesis and orthosis that helps provide support, proper body alignment, control and function for someone who still has a limb but is unable to use it.
Thirteen-year-old Jacqueline recently came to Shriners Children’s Philadelphia to explore possible treatment options for a right femur (upper leg bone) injury she sustained when she was 3. Jacqueline’s fracture never healed – the bone in her leg is not connected. This has caused her to have a severe leg length difference, pain and difficulty walking. A device was made in her hometown in El Salvador to help her walk, but it was very bulky and heavy, weighing more than 10 pounds.
When Jacqueline and her mother arrived in the U.S. to stay with extended family, they sought treatment at a local hospital in New Jersey. However, because she was uninsured, the hospital suggested she come to Shriners Children’s Philadelphia, as it was the only place she could receive the specific treatment she needed.
While Jacqueline came to POPS, her mother shared with me how she had searched for medical care for years in San Salvador, and all the doctors could offer was amputation. She was also told that the only other option was to seek medical care for Jacqueline in the U.S.
During her first visit to Shriners Children’s Philadelphia, Jacqueline discussed reconstructive surgical options with Terrence Ishmael, M.D., and was referred to POPS for an evaluation to replace her bulky device. During her POPS appointment, Luis Velasquez, BOCP, designed a custom prosthosis for Jacqueline. A prosthetic foot was attached to the bottom of a KAFO (knee ankle foot orthosis) to make the legs the same length. This new device provides support for the broken bone and makes it easier to walk. It was also much lighter (weighing only 5 pounds) and was designed with a pattern picked by Jacqueline.
Not only did Jacqueline receive a new prosthosis, but Dr. Ishmael and the team of lower extremity orthopedic physicians are also planning to unite her femur bone and work to lengthen the bone through a series of reconstructive surgeries. Although it may take several years, Jacqueline is on the road to equalizing the length of her legs and keeping her leg.
“Shriners Philly has given Jacqueline hope of reconstruction she never had in El Salvador,” said Dr. Ishmael. “It’s a large undertaking and very complex case, but they are a very sweet family, and we aim to do our best to reconstruct her right leg and give her the most independence and best quality of life possible.”