Two “Right” Feet for Young Girl from Haiti
Now that the hardest part of major surgery is over, and thanks to the TLC from everyone who’s helped care for her, Marie is happy and playful again, eager to be rid of her temporary casts, and to be up on her “new” feet.
“She wants to play our piano, and we are teaching her to write her name,” says her new host father, Franco, who lives with his wife in Waukegan, IL. Marie will be staying there until she is ready to return home to Haiti. Franco and his wife Carol are Haitian as well, so they are providing some needed familiarity in a strange world. Marie’s condition has kept her from attending school with her brothers and sisters. That and many other things are sure to change once she is no longer severely disabled.
The pro-bono surgery is the result of a connection between RUSH Oak Park Hospital, Dr. Jeffrey Sawyer, pediatric orthopaedic specialist with Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, and Atlanta-based Childspring International, a children’s medical charity whose mission is to provide medical treatment and opportunities for a better life for children around the world.
RUSH Oak Park Hospital President and CEO Bruce Elegant is proud the hospital could play a major role in the effort. “Part of our mission is to use our talents and resources to help those who need it most,” Elegant says. “When Jeff Sawyer presented this opportunity to me, I said, ‘Absolutely.’”
“I had pledged last fall to Childspring International that I would provide surgery for a child with club feet,” Sawyer said. “I have done many club foot surgeries and Marie’s case was one of the most severe I’ve seen, but the surgery went extremely well. Once she makes the adjustment to good feet, her life will hold many more opportunities for her.”
Childspring International has secured medical treatment for children in some 38 countries around the world and 20 states in the US. Many children have birth defects such as club feet, cleft palates, and missing limbs; life-threatening medical conditions such as cancer, heart defects, and tumors; and suffer from wounds inflicted in accidents or as a result of war.
“Marie was special because her case was very severe,” Sawyer explains. “I invited our foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Simon Lee, to join me because I knew teamwork was going to be the key to minimizing the length of the operation for this young child.”
Dr. Simon Lee is also a physician with the Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH practice and like Sawyer, divides his time between the RUSH University Medical Center and RUSH Oak Park Hospital campuses.
RUSH Oak Park Hospital was chosen as the venue for this project due to its small size and efficiency, Sawyer added. “We were able to do the surgery on a Saturday at RUSH Oak Park, when the case load is light and we could have plenty of staff dedicated to this special case.”
Marie is expected to be completely healed and beginning physical therapy in a few weeks. After that, she will return home a new young person.
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RUSH Oak Park Hospital is a member of the RUSH System for Health, located near the corner of Harlem Avenue and Madison Street in Oak Park, Illinois. The Hospital is a 216-bed facility that includes the Center for Rehabilitation; the Breast Center, a multi-disciplinary approach to all stages of wellness and breast disease care; state-of-the-art Interventional Radiology and Surgical suites; the RUSH Pain Management Center; and a comprehensive Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Care. To learn more about any of the Hospital’s programs or services, to find a RUSH Oak Park Hospital physician, or for information on upcoming lectures and health screenings, visit the Hospital’s website at www.roph.org or call (708) 660-INFO (4636).
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Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH has locations in Chicago’s River City complex on South Wells Street, at RUSH University Medical Center, and at RUSH Oak Park Hospital. For more information on Midwest Orthopaedics, visit www.rushortho.com or call 877-MD-BONES.
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Childspring International gets most of its funding from individuals, corporations, foundations, civic groups, schools, churches and other faith organizations. The organization says individuals can make a tremendous difference in simple ways, such as donating airline miles, $10 international phone cards, $25 Target, Kmart, and Wal-Mart gift cards, hosting a child or supporting a host family, sharing contacts in the medical, corporate and civic community, prayer, and simply spreading the word to others. For more information on how to donate, visit www.childspringintl.org.
Contact: Jennifer Griffin,
Marketing and Communications,