Story by Laylee Ghafar, Medical Student and LEAP Haiti Team Member
In April 2015, one-year-old Christene and her mother were first evaluated by LEAP in Haiti. Born with a condition known as Turner’s syndrome, Christene’s neck had a webbed appearance. It was felt she should wait until the following year for neck surgery. Mom was concerned about waiting a year for surgery, fearful she would be told to wait even longer; however, she shared that she had faith and agreed to come again the following year.
While our medical team was in Haiti a few weeks ago, Christene and her mother did indeed return for re-evaluation, and she was placed on the surgery schedule by plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Cone. While preparing for her surgery, Dr. Cone and plastic surgeon Dr. Steve Orten discussed Christene’s medical condition. Turner’s syndrome is a condition in which females are missing or partly missing an X chromosome with other varying associated signs and symptoms.
While never having treated a patient with Turner’s syndrome, Dr. Orten shared that his youngest sister was diagnosed with Turner’s syndrome as an early teen, undergoing treatment and later graduating with a Master’s degree and working with the Turner’s Syndrome Society of America to help other young girls. In sharing his sister’s story, Dr. Orten was able to uniquely provide comfort to Christene’s mother, quietening her nerves while her daughter underwent surgery and also giving her hope that Christene would be given a new opportunity in life.
Often while in the mission field, we are truly blessed to be a part of and share our patients’ stories with you. We are touched and blessed by these opportunities, and we gladly share them with you.