Monday, October 19, 2009

The Passing of Ponseti

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that Dr. Ignacio Ponseti, pioneer of a nonsurgical method to correct clubfoot, has died.
The Ponseti Method was born out of his research into the long-term outcomes of clubfoot surgeries performed at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He found that many surgical patients experienced pain after adolescence in addition to stiffness later in life. He discovered that the condition, which appears in about 150,000 to 200,000 babies each year worldwide and is characterized by a deformity of the foot that causes it to turn inward, can be better treated with a less invasive method.
A child is born with clubfoot every three minutes (nearly 200,000 cases reported worldwide annually), and 80% of those children are born in developing countries with limited or no access to health care.

This brief video captures the impact of clubfoot on children in Uganda.

My cousin Jenny, who now lives in Mahomet with her family, sought Dr. Ponseti's help for her daughter.
Jennifer Trevillian’s daughter, Kelly, was born with clubfoot in 2000 and was upset when her doctor recommended surgery.

"I was devastated at the prospect of my child undergoing major reconstructive surgery; the thought of surgical pins protruding from my baby’s foot made my stomach turn," she said.

Trevillian learned about the Ponseti method online and traveled from Michigan to Iowa City to see if it would work for Kelly.

"He was very gentle with my daughter and made sure she was relaxed and comfortable," Trevillian said. "I knew that my daughter was in the right place and the weight was finally lifted from my shoulders. We are forever grateful to Dr. Ponseti, not only for what he’s done for our daughter’s foot, but for his life’s work in improving the lives of children all over the world."
The P-C offers a gallery of photos of Ponseti.

Consult the Ponseti International Association Website and other clubfoot sites for more information.

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