Dr. Laura Ferreira, her casting technician, Malia, and a student nurse, putting the third cast on a six week old baby.
Post by Chesca Colloredo – Managing Director, miraclefeet
Lauren (our new program manager…more on that later) and I arrived in Sao Paulo on Monday morning and headed straight to Hospital Universidade (HU-USP) to visit Dr. Laura Ferreira’s miraclefeet-supported clubfoot clinic and see children undergoing treatment. Two-year-old, Eric, ran up and down the corridor with normal toddler energy and it was hard to believe he once suffered from clubfoot. Seven-week-old, Victor, was having the last set of his casts applied before his tenotomy next week. These two examples illustrate how treatment can be fast and easy when started at an early age.
Dr. Laura’s program has a very strong team in place thanks to extra personnel provided by hospital administration who continue to be impressed by miraclefeet’s support and interest in her clubfoot clinic. She has nurses who soak the babies’ casts off just before she sees them to minimize any chance of relapse and to ensure the process is gentle and comfortable. Her casting technician, Malia, and a nurse trainee help her with casting, which maximizes her time. She also has two physical therapists who work with the children at the bracing phase to check the feet for signs of relapse, to fit the braces and to enter patient information. To round out her team, she has a social worker who explains the treatment process and educates parents, as well as placing phone calls to nearby maternity hospitals to explain that free treatment for clubfoot is available at HU-USP. This is definitely a model for success and one we will work to achieve in other hospitals.
In the course of our conversations, Dr. Ferreira explained that the miraclefeet patient database has helped allow the team to work seamlessly since all members of the team can access patient records as needed without chasing down paper files. Laura said they do not keep any paper records for the clubfoot children thanks to our system. She had a few ideas for tweaks to the system that we will incorporate into our current redesign to make the system even easier to use.
Stay tuned for Part II of this post!