BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Sometimes broadcasting and the Internet work together to offer life-changing information.
That’s what a Colorado mother found when she was told nothing could be done to help her daughter who was born with a club hand, a deformity involving tissue on the thumb side of the hand and forearm.
She turned to the web and found a story WJZ did at Union Memorial’s Curtis National Hand Center. 3,000 miles later, her daughter has a new future.
Alma Mota remembers the day a Colorado doctor told her there was nothing to be done to help her triplet daughter, Julianna, born with a shortened radial bone in her forearm.
“It’s a pretty rare congenital anomaly, and surgeries for it are even more rare,” Curtis National Hand Center Surgeon Dr. Ryan Katz said.
“I stayed up until 4 a.m. Googling, Dr. Katz video.” Mota said.
Mota found a story WJZ did on a little boy with a similar congenital problem, given ground-breaking surgery at Curtis National Hand Center, one of the only places in the world. She knew Julianna could be helped.
“She said, ‘Hey, there’s something that can be done,” Julianna’s father, Juan Mota, said. “There’s one thing. It’s in Maryland.”
“This is a small hospital in Baltimore, but it’s a world-class institution,” Dr. Katz said. “World-class.”
Three weeks ago, doctors performed an extremely rare surgery, using Julianna’s second toe to create a radius bone in her arm.
“This surgery is unique in that it takes growing bone from a growing child from one location and transfers it to another location where there is a deficiency,” Dr. Katz said.
Dr. Katz also planted pieces of toe bone in her arm to grow and eventually be used to create a thoroughly functional thumb.
“It’s a fascinating medical advance and it works and should work for her,” Dr. Katz said.
Julianna’s foot is healing and her arm mending. She’s back with her sisters and acting like any other 3-year-old.
“It was the light that we were looking for after many different searches through different tunnels,” Alma Mota said. “We found ours.”