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Family of Whitney Renee Stephens Seek Communities Support While She Undergoes Therapy and Waits For Surgery

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Posted by: Thomas Azar
Date: Jul 24 2013 2:45 PM

Whitney Renee Stephens, the twelve year old daughter of James and Tina Stephens is currently undergoing treatment for severe scoliosis in St. Louis, Missouri at Children’s Hospital. Scoliosis is a general term for a spinal deformity that causes curvature in the spine. Severe scoliosis can affect not only a person’s physical appearance but their lung capacity and heart; this is the case with Whitney. While most spine curvature can be treated with non invasive methods, severe curvatures of 70% or higher often require surgical intervention. Whitney’s curve has been rated at 92.

Whitney and her parents traveled to St. Louis on the recommendation of her doctor in Birmingham due to the complicated situation of her health to one of the few doctors that would be willing to do the necessary procedure. They have been in St. Louis since June 16th in preparation for surgery which was originally scheduled for June 20th. That procedure has been delayed.

Currently Whitney is undergoing Halo traction therapy. The halo traction apparatus is attached to the skull using screws that are drilled directly in to the bone, then using a pulley device weights are used to pull the spine straighter. This is being implemented to reduce the complications of the spinal surgery that will take place at the end of this therapy. Originally they were given a goal of 20 pounds of weight to be put on the device and then preparation for surgery – approximately a two week time frame. Whitney has been in halo traction now for almost 4 weeks and will continue at a weight of 25 to 30 pounds to be in this traction for an additional 3-4 weeks.

When doctors feel that it is time for surgery, Whitney will undergo an extensive, extremely invasive spinal surgery that will is being estimated to last ten hours. This is extremely dangerous for someone with diminished lung capacity. After surgery she will have 2-3 weeks of recovery in St. Louis before coming home, where she will begin the two year healing process.

 A charitable fund has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank to assist with the expenses: Whitney Renee Stephens is the name of the account. Please help this family in their time of need. To send Whitney a card: The Stephens Family, Children’s Hospital, One Children’s Place, Room 1022, St. Louis, Missouri 63110. They appreciate your prayers during this very difficult time.

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