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news News Wednesday, November 4, 2020 Wednesday, November 4, 2020 8:09 AM - Wednesday, November 4, 2020 8:09 AM

Orthotic and prosthetic services help teen girl pursue her passions

Orthotic and prosthetic services help teen girl pursue her passions

Fifteen-year-old Madison wants you to forget everything you thought you knew about hospitals – the foreign smells, the alarming noises, the cold, unwelcoming air – just like she did two years ago when her journey with Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville began.

A typical kid, Madison had always been more than a little wary of white coats and doctor’s offices. But all that started to change when her passion for basketball (and softball and volleyball) landed her in the pediatrician’s office with pain in her lower leg. Given her active nature, the doctor discovered that Madison had developed a stress fracture – but there was more. Madison was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a genetic condition which can cause nerve damage and muscle weakness in the arms and legs, as well as double hip dysplasia.

An overwhelming diagnosis on all accounts, Madison wasn’t thrilled about being referred to yet another physician for treatment. But this time, she would see Keith Gettys, M.D., at the Greenville Shriners Hospital to discuss options for her hip dysplasia, an often painful condition in which the hip socket doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone.

Madison will be the first to tell you that her initial visit to Dr. Gettys felt “a little scary.” After all, there was talk of surgery – meaning she wouldn’t be able to participate in the sports she loved for quite some time. But she decided that she would play one more softball season and then reconsider. With the encouragement and support of Dr. Gettys, her parents and her sister (who had previously undergone the same procedure), Madison opted in.

On May 28, 2019, she underwent surgery to treat the hip dysplasia affecting her right leg, and all went as planned. Post-surgery, however, Madison began to experience severe pain. The source? A damaged nerve, caused most likely in part by the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease affecting her system. While Dr. Gettys and the team at the Greenville Shriners Hospital attempted to resolve her pain with everything from nerve blockers and medications to an epidural, exploratory surgery and nerve transfer, Madison didn’t see results. Her extreme discomfort led her to what most would call an incredibly difficult decision: the decision to amputate.

On May 29, 2020, exactly one year after her first surgery, Madison bravely underwent the amputation of her right leg. Today, her disposition is exactly what you might expect of a girl so courageous: It’s positive, confident and altogether determined.

She has spent the past few months working with the Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services department to find the prosthetic device that fits just right – and she looks forward to every single hospital visit. The Greenville Shriners Hospital, Madison says, isn’t just a safe space but also a fun place. Here, Madison is invited to laugh and play and speak her mind. Here, Madison is surrounded by a staff that’s dedicated to giving her hope and helping her reach her goals. And soon enough, Madison knows she’ll be back on the softball field hitting home runs.

Madison with leg prosthetic