CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Jude Dosmanos suffered from severe clubfeet. Now they are straight, thanks to Shriners orthopedic surgeons.
Docs at Shriners
fix boy’s clubfeet
The youth will return to
the Philippines able to show
his family he can walk normally
Jude Dosmanos will take some precious gifts home to the Philippines when he leaves Hawaii before Christmas.
"I learned to speak English," said the 12-year-old. "I learned to make friends. I learned everything."
Best of all, he learned to walk after surgery to realign his clubfeet at the Shriners Hospital for Children.
"He is doing tremendously. He's happy. He's walking without crutches," said Dr. Ellen Raney, Shriners orthopedic surgeon.
Jude's parents and eight siblings in Catarman, Camiguin province, will see him walking with shoes for the first time.
"Our parents are so excited," said his sister, Maria Franzuela, 30, who accompanied him here in March.
She has sent photos home to show his progress and talked by telephone with their parents, who cannot believe his feet are really straight. Their mother asked, "How do they do that?"
"I don't know. It's a medical miracle," Maria told her. "It's a miracle from Shriners and the people who helped us."
Raney used a method developed in Russia to reshape bones in Jude's feet, which were misshapen and out of place at birth. An external fixator, similar to a "bone scaffold," was attached to the boy's limbs and gradually adjusted to correct the deformity.
"We straightened out each of the legs with the frame that goes outside the foot. It straightens slowly," Raney said, explaining the legs are staggered by two weeks, with five months in the frame and a month in casts.
Jude has a shoe on one foot now and a cast on the other one, which should be ready for a shoe in a couple of weeks, she said.
"He's been a star," Raney said. "He's just been a wonderful, delightful young man. He's made tremendous progress in English and social skills. It's been wonderful watching him come out of his shell."
The boy greeting visitors recently with a big smile and a little shaka sign has undergone eight surgeries at Shriners since May. He was released Oct. 19, and he and his sister, who had been living in a hospital dormitory, have been staying with foster parents Ronda and Mike Teruya in Mililani.
Shriners provided transportation for Jude to go to the hospital twice a week for physical therapy until this week. Now he goes once a week.
Maria said she also does physical therapy with him every morning and evening, including stretching and walking.
"Jude is a very hard worker," said physical therapist Michele Chee. "He has gotten a whole lot stronger since he's been here. He is a little bit sore. The surgery is not completely healed."
She said he is getting used to putting more weight on the bottom of his feet, an unfamiliar sensation because he had always walked on the sides, building up large calluses.
"Our goal is to get him walking home without crutches," she said, although he will have to wear braces over his shoes for six months to prevent recurrence of the deformity.
Jude said he is "doing good," but he has been sore and cried sometimes. He said he misses his family.
Jude's trip here was arranged by Dr. Gunther Hintz, president and director of Medicorps. Joe Rosales, an Aloha Shriner, coordinated arrangements. The two met the boy when in Catarman in October 2000 with the Aloha Medical Mission.
When Hintz approached their family about Jude coming here for surgery, Maria said, "We didn't take it seriously at first." But when he dropped out of school because classmates were making fun of him, she said, "we had to think about his future. Wow, we were so lucky."
Jude also has adapted to some American ways. He said his favorites are the TV show "Tom and Jerry" and McDonald's hamburgers.
Maria said she tells him: "You'd better eat here. You know the situation in the Philippines. Here you can eat fruits and everything. In the Philippines it's so expensive."
State Rep. Dennis Arakaki visited Jude at the hospital last week, giving him a stuffed dog -- which Jude immediately named King -- and other presents. Arakaki said he is looking into bringing another boy to Shriners with a similar deformity. He met the child in June in Nueva Ecija in Pangasinan province.
Arakaki is leaving tomorrow with a delegation of more than 70 people, plus a medical mission, for "Aloha Week in Pangasinan" and said he will check further into what is required to bring the other boy here.
Shriners provides free surgical and rehabilitative services to children under 18 with treatable bone, muscle and joint disorders.
Maria said Jude told her: "I will never forget this experience. If I'm going to win a lottery, I'm going to donate half to Shriners."
She tells him, "Study hard, then come back to Hawaii and work."