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news item News Tuesday, March 12, 2019 Tuesday, March 12, 2019 2:28 PM - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 2:28 PM

Meet 3-year-old Diana

Diana, 3, has been a patient at Shriners for Children Medical Center (formerly Shriners Hospitals for Children ― Los Angeles), since she was 6 months old. She travels to appointments with her mother from their hometown of Sinaloa, Mexico.

When Diana was born, her mother, Delia, had some concerns, one being that Diana’s right arm looked different from her left. Delia noticed that Diana was unable to move her shoulder or fully extend and rotate her right arm. Delia sought care for her daughter and found Dr. Christian, an orthopedic surgeon at CRIT in Sonora, Mexico.

After Diana’s initial evaluation, Dr. Christian told Delia about Shriners Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles. He went on to explain how the doctors that work at the Los Angeles Shriners Hospital specialize in caring for children with orthopaedic conditions and injuries. Dr. Christian advised Delia to go to a clinic in Hermosillo where doctors from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles visit a few times a year to conduct an outreach clinic, Hospital Infantil del Estado. There Delia received the information she needed to apply for treatment at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles.

Within two weeks, Delia received a called from a Los Angeles Shriners Hospital representative who informed her that Diana’s condition could be evaluated. Two months later, Diana met with Shriners for Children Medical Center plastic surgeon Katherine Au, M.D., who specializes in congenital and post-traumatic hand reconstruction, microsurgery, brachial plexus injuries and burn reconstruction. This initial evaluation appointment was held using telehealth, which allows the patient to be in one location and communicate by electronic means (live audio, video) with their physician who is at another location. Diana attended the appointment at the Shriners Hospitals for Children ambulatory center in Tijuana, while Dr. Au was at the Shriners Medical Center location in Pasadena.

After the examination, Dr. Au recommended a physical visit to the Pasadena Shriners Medical Center for a more in-depth examination and evaluation. During the exam Diana was diagnosed with a blocked urinary tract and Erb’s palsy of the right arm. Erb’s palsy is a form of obstetric brachial plexus disorder. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves around the shoulder. If damaged, there can be loss of movement or weakness of the arm. The nerves may be affected by compression inside the mother’s womb and during a difficult delivery.

Dr. Au determined that Diana would require surgery to help repair the nerve damage.

Following the surgery, Diana wore a splint to position her shoulder joint while the nerves recovered. After the splint was removed, Diana was scheduled for occupational therapy to help prevent joint stiffness. “We really connected with Ruby, our occupational therapist, at Shriners. She was extremely patient with Diana and she taught me a few exercises I can continue doing with my daughter at home,” said Delia.

Over the three years, Diana has undergone six surgeries at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles and Shriners for Children Medical Center. For each surgery, Delia and Diana traveled 664 miles each way, by bus, so her daughter can receive the specialty treatment she needs. “I appreciate all that Dr. Au and Shriners has done for both my daughter and me. It is difficult for me to leave my other children with their grandmother while I travel with Diana for treatment, but it is well worth it,” said Delia.