Clubfoot is an abnormality that causes both of Walter’s feet to be twisted out of shape. It’s a relatively common birth defect (1 in 1,000 births) that is completely treatable, without major surgery, under the Ponseti method which uses a series of weekly castings and brace-wear for several years. Clubfoot should be treated as early as possible, because newborn’s bones, joints, and tendons are very flexible. Without treatment, clubfoot is likely to cause arthritis, inability to walk normally, and other problems stemming from walking adjustments.
As soon as we found out about Walter’s health issues, we wanted to do all the research we could. We read books, joined social media groups, talked to doctors. We wanted to become as knowledgeable as possible.
We started out thinking we were making the right decision to see a pediatric orthopedist in El Paso, Texas, which was conveniently close to Jason’s family. Walter began casting in late August, and had his ninth casting almost two weeks ago. As the castings progressed, my gut told me something was wrong with the progress of Walter’s feet. I brought up my specific concerns to his doctor, but he reassured me there were no problems. I figured I was just being an overprotective worry wart. Two weeks before his tenotomy (a surgical procedure involving cutting the tendons for greater range of movement), my concerns were even greater. I decided to reach out and send current pictures of Walter’s feet and casts to two separate pediatric orthopedic doctors in the United States- one of which is regarded one of the best doctors in the world for clubfeet. My worst fears were confirmed when both doctors told me they shared my concerns and recommended that we seek a second opinion as soon as possible.
Just days ago, we decided to drive 16 hours to St. Louis, Missouri to get a second opinion from an expert doctor. Dr. Matthew Dobbs is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, practicing at St. Louis Children’s Hospital with specialty in the Ponseti method of clubfoot correction. Not only is Dr. Dobbs consistently recognized in the “Best Doctors in America” list, he is arguably the best doctor in the world for Walter’s specific needs.
Walter had his first appointment with Dr. Dobbs this past Friday in which he confirmed, with certainty, that Walter has “rocker bottom” deformity. Walter has developed this issue due to improper casting. At this point, Jason and I believe that we only want the absolute best for Walter- which is receiving his orthopedic care from Dr. Dobbs. Unfortunately, Dr. Dobbs does not accept Walter’s insurance, so we will have to pay out-of-pocket. These costs are worth every penny, but it presents a financial burden that our family cannot meet alone.
It is difficult, yet humbling, to ask for help and share details of Walter’s issues publicly. Many of you have asked how you can help. We ask for your love, well wishes, and prayers. If you have means to donate any amount, please know that it is appreciated more than we can express. Every dollar will be towards his treatment. Please consider sharing Walter’s story to spread the word.
Forever grateful and thankful,
The Kennedy Family
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