Clubbed foot girl gets surgery

May 1, 2008 8:31:35 PM PDT
Doctors in New York did a remarkable bit of surgery Thursday.It was performed on a teenage girl who was born with feet so deformed that they twist backward and upside down.

But not any more.

The girl and her family flew from the Philippines to New York and went to Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx for a surgery that will allow her to walk without crutches.

Eyewitness News reporter Jim Dolan has the story.

This little girl, Jingle Luis, was born so ill that doctors wouldn't treat her because they were so scared she would die within days. But she has beaten the odds.

Jasmine Luis stood by her daughter's bedside Thursday night, and for maybe the first time in their lives together, they are finally looking forward.

"I have a big hope that Dr. Amaral fixes it correctly and successfully," the 15-year-old Jingle said before the surgery.

Jingle was born in the Philippines with two clubbed feet and spina bifida. The local doctor was sure the child would die before long, and offered a desperate mother no hope.

"I talked to the doctor and said, 'What shall we do for my daughter,'" Jasmine said. "He gave me an antibiotic."

But Jingle lived. Still, doctors refused to treat her, and as she grew older, her clubbed feet became more difficult to treat, some said impossible. That's when a doctor from Montefiore Medical Center, on a mission to the Philippines, came upon her. He arranged to have her brought to the U.S., and she underwent surgery Thursday. It will be followed by intensive therapy.

"The actual surgical part is not as involved, we're just putting the scaffolding on," Dr. Terry Amaral said. "Most of the care, most of the stuff we're going to do is going to be after the surgery.

Jingle told her mom she has a dream for her life after surgery.

"'When my feet are ready, I will wear high heels,'" her mother said Jingle told her.

The doctors say she may well just do that. The surgery went well, they said, and after a year or so of physical therapy, she may be able to dance off in those heels.