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Is it Surgeon or Is it Mom? Why Not Both: Surgeon Mom?

Dr. Poon journeyed down that path as a physician, and then began the parallel path as a wife and mother.

Long before becoming a mom, Selina Poon, M.D., decided to become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

She journeyed down that path as a physician and then began the parallel path as a wife and mother. It was when her son, Kyle, was in the womb that both titles and paths would interchange. During their 20-week anatomy scan, Dr. Poon and her husband, Jeffrey, were told that Kyle would have club feet. Both new parents were filled with mixed emotions. But there was an upside to this. What were the chances that an orthopedic surgeon’s child would have a condition that she is trained to treat?

Kyle’s diagnosis is known as idiopathic clubfoot, a condition in which a foot is rotated either downward or inward since birth. While this news was frightening to the soon-to-be parents, Dr. Poon looked to her past and knew that Shriners Children’s would be the place to treat Kyle. From 2004 to 2009, long before she knew Kyle would come into existence, Dr. Poon trained at Shriners Children’s in Houston, Texas. There, she was a resident and learned very well what Shriners Children's had to provide for patients with idiopathic clubfoot. This connection and experience is what would lead her in the future to trust that it was the right place for her son.

In 2011, Kyle became a patient of Robert M. Bernstein, M.D., who is now the chief of staff at the Shriners Children’s Portland facility. Since starting his treatment, Kyle has had several rounds of casting, followed by bracing at night. During this time, Dr. Poon was there to offer her knowledge to Kyle, not only as a mom, but also as a trained pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Her experience in both have been instrumental in Kyle’s journey.

While idiopathic clubfoot can be challenging, it hasn’t stopped Kyle from accomplishing any goal he has set for himself. He enjoys swimming as well as math, speech and debate classes, but none of those compare to his love for Hapkido martial arts. His love for Hapkido began at the age of 6, and he has been working hard at it for years. Now 11, he has his black belt and hopes to keep mastering his skills. Although Kyle’s journey has been slightly different from many kids, his parents and younger brother, Tyler, have not missed any moment to cheer him on from the sidelines. Dr. Poon was very proud of Kyle when he earned that black belt, and shyly admitted to shedding a tear that day. When asked what he would say to every child beginning their journey with clubfoot, Kyle had a few words to share.

Stay calm, don’t freak out, and your life will be fine.
Kyle, patient, Shriners Children's Southern California

Dr. Poon has a special connection to the Shriners Children’s mission and an impressive devotion to the patients and families she helps. Her own experience, youthful style in her approach, and quirky traditions make her a sought-after professional in pediatric orthopedics.

One can always count on Dr. Poon to start her tradition of dressing up every day in the month of October for Halloween. As someone who has gone through so much as a mother to a child with clubfoot, Dr. Poon simply provides this advice: “Listen to your surgeon! Ha ha! All kidding aside, clubfoot is a treatable problem. There are sometimes bumps along the journey and we can get over them. Kids are amazingly resilient and go on to do not just normal things, but I expect them to do great things in life.”

Kyle's Journey

From the very start, Kyle was surrounded by love and support through his journey with club feet.

mother holding infant

Dr. Poon with Kyle as a newborn.

Kyle in martial arts studio

Kyle receives his black belt in Hapkido.


Kyle sees his picture at the medical center.

female physician wearing Halloween costume

Dr. Poon loves to bring the Halloween spirit throughout the month of October for her patients. Pictured: Dr. Poon wearing a Halloween costume.

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