Patrick Scott and Mackenzie DiMaria were beyond excited to become parents. When they learned that their unborn child was a son, they started to picture what life would be like with a little boy. Days at the playground, playing ball and going on bike rides topped the list of things they were looking forward to. But the sonogram that confirmed the baby was a boy also confirmed something else. The baby’s right foot was pointed sideways rather than straight forward, indicating a clubbed foot. Their thoughts turned to worry and fear.
“I have always been a physically active person and I wanted to be able to share that with my child,” Scott says. “I wanted him to be able to run around in the yard and play like a normal kid. And I worried that he wouldn’t be able to.”
James Bailey Scott was born on Sept. 27, 2013, and the plan to correct his foot deformity began to immediately take shape. He had a series of tests, followed by tendon lengthening surgery, by the time he was 1 month old. Bailey’s surgeon stressed the importance of keeping him in a brace to support a gradual transition of his tendons. But the brace proved to be a problem.
“As a newborn, Bailey couldn’t do much about it other than scream,” Scott explains. “But as he got a little older, he just refused to wear it. By the time he was 18 months old, he regressed to the point that we basically needed to start over.”
When Bailey turned 2, it was clear that a change needed to be made. Eager to find a physician who would offer a different approach and a more specialized focus on pediatric care, his parents began researching other physicians who could help. A friend recommended they see Andrew Abramowitz, MD, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center.
“Dr. Abramowitz earned our trust immediately,” says Scott. “He saw Bailey as a child rather than a number. It was very refreshing in comparison to our previous experiences.” Under Dr. Abramowitz’s care, Bailey went through a repeat tendon lengthening procedure, followed by a series of castings, and then a series of bracings. Again, the goal was to gradually shift and stretch the toddler’s tendons. And the second time around, it worked. “Dr. Abramowitz spent a lot of time talking about Bailey,” Scott notes. “He showed us that as parents, we had options and could make choices that we felt would best benefit our son. He wanted our input and it made all the difference in the world.”
As a pediatric specialist with MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, Dr. Abramowitz treats children from birth through age 17. He notes that some of the most common orthopaedic conditions include foot deformities like Bailey’s, as well as bone deformities, fractures, dislocations, in-toeing and out-toeing and sports injuries. He is also trained in caring for children who have been diagnosed with Perthes Disease and who have neuromuscular disorders such as spina bifida and cerebral palsy. Regardless of the type of patient he is caring for, however, Dr. Abramowitz strives to make every parent feel the way Scott does.
“By the time I saw Bailey, he and his parents had already been through a lot. They were looking for a physician they could trust,” says Dr. Abramowitz. “I take the time to get to know each patient and family because a lot more goes into this than just the surgical procedures. I need to understand the medical history, their goals and concerns. Then we build a plan that will work for the individual child.”
Bailey had an additional procedure, a tendon transfer surgery, with Dr. Abramowitz at age 3, to correct the crescent shape of his foot and force it to lay flat as he walks. That procedure was successful, too. While he still sleeps in a brace, today, at the age of 4, Bailey spends quite a bit of time outside doing all those things his parents had dreamed of.
Bailey continues to see Dr. Abramowitz every six months for checkups and continued progress monitoring. And Scott wraps up just about every appointment the same way.
“Every time we see Dr. Abramowitz, I tell him how much we appreciate him and everything he has done for Bailey,” says Scott. “He’s my son’s saving grace and I make sure he knows it.”
For a physician referral, please call 877-34-ORTHO.
Pediatric orthopaedics is a subspecialty of orthopaedics that focuses on the musculoskeletal problems common to children and adolescents.
When physicians deal with pediatric musculoskeletal problems, they must consider the effect further growth will have on any treatments and on the anticipated outcomes.