Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dr. Lauri - Cerebral Palsy in Guatemala

Not much time but wanted to blog about a 13-month-old I saw today.
Brought in by her mom, she is the youngest of 7 children. Mom was concerned because her baby is not walking, sitting or talking, and gags and chokes on anything other than breast milk. The baby was all wrapped up being worn by her mom during the history taking, but I knew before I saw her that she likely had cerebral palsy. On the exam table it was evident - hypertonic, scissor legs, back arching, clenched fists, contracted elbows. She is also microcephalic.
With the terrific help of my phenomenal interpreter, Diana, I was able to tell the mother the child’s diagnosis and prognosis. We talked through all kinds of things, like her risk for aspiration pneumonias, etc. I am doubtful she will ever walk, talk, feed herself, etc. Mom already knew there was something wrong; I just gave it a name. She was listening to each word.
I started the child on vitamins and an antibiotic to treat aspiration pneumonia. In the United States, she would also get physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, developmental therapy, eventually be fitted for a walker or wheelchair, and a feeding tube, but not here. One of the Xavier Occupational Therapy students got to see the exam. She could not have had a better patient from whom to learn.
The clinic was slower volume this morning. I only saw 9 patients compared to 19 yesterday morning. But that one patient was like 100 to me. I will carry memories of her forever.

1 comment:

Rhonda Stafford said...

If you're interested, you can refer your patients to CP Family Network for a ton of helpful resources for all those affected by cerebral palsy. I hope this little girl is doing well.