Family relocates across the country to save daughter's leg
Briella Angsomwine, Limb Lengthening Patient, St. Mary's Medical Center
When Jessica Angsomwine and her husband Chris found out they were expecting their first child, they were thrilled. Like most parents-to-be, the couple dreamed of meeting their baby girl, Briella, and the special moments they would share with her. However, their bliss quickly diminished when specialists discovered complications with their unborn child.
“At 17 weeks pregnant, a sonogram revealed that the bones in our baby’s right leg were shorter than those in her left leg,” Jessica recalls. “She also had a club foot and hip dysplasia.”
Jessica, Chris and other family members met with countless specialists to find a solution to their daughter’s condition, which was diagnosed as tibial hemimilia, the absence or partial absence of the tibia. To their dismay, the most common suggestion they heard was amputation. Because this was completely out of the question for the family, their search continued and led them to the Paley Institute at St. Mary’s Medical Center and Palm Beach Children’s Hospital. Dr. Dror Paley, medical director of the Institute, orthopedic surgeon and limb lengthening specialist on the hospital’s medical staff, is known world-wide for the numerous procedures he has developed to help patients with deformities similar to Briella’s.
“We were so grateful to have finally found someone who was willing to try to fix the problem with my daughter’s leg rather than remove it,” shares Jessica. “Chris and I yearned to see her walk, jump and dance, so we placed our faith in God and Dr. Paley.”
Briella underwent two correctional surgeries to straighten and lengthen her right leg, one of which involved the placement of an external fixator. The device uses several pins that are adjusted to help the leg bone grow correctly. Additionally, she attended hourly physical therapy sessions five days a week, which have now been reduced to twice a week. Within a few months, Briella’s leg straightened out so much that she is now able to walk with the assistance of a walker.
The Angsomwines and their loved ones are so thankful and impressed with Briella’s results that they combined their efforts to raise awareness of limb lengthening, so families in similar situations will know that amputation is not their only option. The couple also decided to relocate from Texas to South Florida to be closer to the physicians and staff at St. Mary’s Medical Center and Palm Beach Children’s Hospital.
“With the exceptional medical care she has received and continues to receive at the Paley Institute, we feel confident that our fiery little 2-year old will be walking on her own in no time,” Jessica says.
Click here to read more about Briella's story from her physical therapist's perspective.
This testimonial reflects results achieved by this patient. Each case must be independently evaluated and managed.