STANFORD (CBS) — For the first time, a 6-year-old boy from Palestine was able to stand on his feet and walk thanks to a successful surgery at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.
Hadi Alkhadra suffered from a condition known as ‘stuck joints’ and other orthopedic deformities that prevented him from walking.
The youngster was born in the West Bank region of Palestine, but it was in an operating room at Stanford’s Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital that his life really began.
“I said yes, we can treat this young man,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Rinsky. “I was surprised that he hadn’t been treated where he came from.”
Hadi was born with Arthogryposis, a crippling condition similar to polio that causes muscles to shrink and joints to lock up.
“The foot was so deformed that it was upside down,” said Dr. Rinsky. “So, he stood on the top of his foot and there was no way to wear shoes.”
That just didn’t seem right for a kid with Hadi’s spirit. So, last fall a group called the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund sent Hadi and his mom to Dr. Rinsky for surgery to correct the defect. After two operations to rebuild his limbs, and six months of physical therapy, Hadi is now getting used to his new feet.
Hadi’s mother always had to carry her son everywhere. Now she gets to see him walk.
Hadi said his favorite surgeon has also given him a new dream. He wants want to be a doctor like Dr. Rinsky.
Dr. Rinsky said it is Hadi’s attitude that has made all the difference.
“If I could bottle his spirit and enthusiasm, I would give it to all of my patients, “said Rinsky.
Hadi will finally be able to attend school when he returns to Palestine. Dr. Rinsky warned he still faces years of therapy and may never be able to run very well, but added, “…but actually, who knows? Maybe he’ll surprise us.”
Hadi hasn’t seen his father, sister, and two brothers for 6 months. When he gets home later this month, he’ll get to show them his new legs.