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news item News Tuesday, January 2, 2018 Tuesday, January 2, 2018 4:22 PM - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 4:22 PM

Patient travels 250 miles to receive the best specialized pediatric orthopaedic care

J.P. receives care for cerebral palsy from Lexington Shriners Medical Center

J.P. was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. Cerebral palsy, commonly referred to as CP, primarily affects body movement and muscle coordination. It is normally described by loss or impairment of motor function. CP affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning. Medical care for CP varies from patient to patient. For the most part, patients with CP require therapy, a wheelchairs or some other type of walking device; such as crutches, walkers, etc.; surgery, botulinum toxin A injections, orthotics, and/or casting. CP is incurable; however, with the exception of children born with severe cases, it is considered to be a non-life-threatening condition. Most children with CP are expected to live well into adulthood.

At the age of the 3, J.P and his family moved from San Antonio, Texas, to Huntington, West Virginia. His new pediatrician in West Virginia referred him to Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington. “We travel the 250+ miles round trip to Lexington because the care he gets is top notch,” said Patricia, J.P.’s mom.

Janet Walker, M.D., pediatric orthopaedic surgeon and Susan McDowell, M.D., physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, oversee J.P.’s medical care at Lexington Shriners Medical Center. One of the treatment options that Dr. McDowell has recommended and performed has been onabotulinum toxin A injections. These injections can be recommended by a physician for children with isolated spasticity. When spasticity is isolated to one muscle group, the injections are inserted directly into the muscle, nerve, or both to help relax the muscle so that it has more movement. In addition, Dr. Walker has performed several surgeries on J.P. to help align his legs into the correct positions with casting. The goal of  Dr. Walker and Dr. McDowell, along with J.P.’s mom and dad, has been to keep J.P. mobile for as long as possible.

One way that Lexington Shriners Medical Center has helped to create mobility for J.P. has been through custom-made orthotic devices fabricated by the Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) – Midwest, LLC, department at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington. J.P. wears AFO (ankle foot orthosis) braces that extend up his calf and bring stability to the foot, ankle and lower leg by immobilizing it.

“Lexington Shriners takes care of everything!” exclaimed Patricia. “We have gone through surgeries, physical therapy, several AFOs, and when the time is needed they work with us to find the correct wheelchair and Kaye walker that allows J.P. the most mobility.”

Almost everyone at Lexington Shriners Medical Center knows J.P. and his famous smile. J.P. has been attending special events held by Lexington Shriners Medical Center since becoming a patient here. He has attended sports camps, Camp Fez (an outdoor recreational camping experience), prom, Santa Claus visits, and will be attending the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic in Houston, in March 2018. “The events hosted by Shriners Medical Center give children like my son a chance to take part in sports or other activities that are normally not something they can do,” said Patricia. “Healthwise for J.P., it keeps him active and excited about the upcoming events. He works hard to stay healthy to attend them and when he does, the excitement on his face is worth the 250 miles of travel and time. He feels better about himself and realizes he is not the only one whose body just doesn’t work normally.”

See an interview with J.P. where he discusses University of Kentucky's participation in the 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children Classic:

Today J.P. is 14 years old and is in the 8th grade. He was crowned the 2017-2018 homecoming king and has participated in 5Ks, sled hockey, summer camps and other extracurricular activities. “Working with Shriners Medical Center all these years has helped not only him, but me and his dad, to provide ways to show his personalities and accomplishments in getting to say, “I did IT!” Patricia said.

J.P. attends many events at the Lexington Shriners Medical Center