Helping Nathan Hit the Ground Running
Eight-year old Nathan loves baseball and paddle boarding. He also has a prosthetic leg. “One day my foot flew off during gym class,” he says. “But we all just laughed. One kid ran for the school nurse.”
Nathan takes his disability in stride. His family sought care with our fetal medicine experts when his mother, Shannon, was 20 weeks pregnant. Scans showed Nathan had four congenital defects on his right leg — he had no fibula and only 2 toes. The rest of his body was unaffected. A week after Nathan was born, his parents drove from Ocean City, MD to meet Dr. Matthew Oetgen, our chief of orthopeadic surgery. He determined that Nathan’s lower leg would need to be amputated his when his lungs had had time to develop.
Just after Nathan’s first birthday, his family braced for surgery. Nathan blew bubbles with his nurses as they headed into the operating room. Within a few months, he learned to walk with a prosthetic.
“From the beginning Dr. O and his staff gave us peace of mind,” Shannon says. “I don’t have to advocate for Nathan’s care — they do it for us. He’ll need surgery again when he’s older, but we’re 100 percent confident about it. All of this care has also meant that Nathan can do what he loves to do, such as playing tackle football.”
Nathan loves coming back to Children’s National for annual visits. He says, “I love Dr. Bear, especially how he makes kids feel better.”