Meet Anala - Dr. Josh Murphy's Patient!

Anala is a vibrant 9 year old young lady diagnosed with Early Onset Scoliosis. Her curve progressed throughout her life to 98 degrees when she arrived in Dr. Murphy’s clinic. Therefore, after deliberation with the family Dr. Murphy and Dr. Devito first utilized in-hospital halo-gravity traction for 5 weeks followed by placement of magnetically controlled growing rods. The growth friendly rods allow her spine and thoracic cavity the ability to grow and develop while maintaining control of her spinal deformity. Below is a letter from Anala’s mother and pictures during her hospital stay describing her experience. It is ours, Anala’s, and her family’s hope that Anala’s story will help children with a similar diagnosis ease the discomfort and anxiety throughout the treatment process.

From Anala’s mother:
Within my family, we have never experienced major medical conditions nor treatment, of course. Alana was diagnosed with scoliosis at three years old. She was braced and had several consultations over the years that included X-rays. Her curve at three years old was twenty-four degrees, a year later it was thirty-two degrees and by age nine she had tripled that to ninety-eight degrees. Throughout this time, she didn't experience pain nor limitations to her daily life.

Surgery was suggested early on. Ultimately, surgery would have changed her life. Technology for scoliosis was still underway. The extension rods would have been placed and surgically extended every six months until she stopped growing. This would have caused her to have around 16-20 surgeries without considering any complications. For me, the single thought of surgical risks, for my child that only experienced being the shortest kid in her class, never felt it was worth it.

At this point, her curve was doing nothing but progressing. If it stopped, I most likely wouldn't be here. I was told before that her lungs could be affected. So I simply kept an eye on her breathing over the past few years. Which, she never has experienced problems with breathing. Which Dr. Murphy advised that it could indeed shed years off her life.

Our initial visit with Dr. Murphy, I went in knowing that I wanted the surgery for her. The only thing that I wasn't confident in was which doctor to perform the surgery. I looked for several things when sitting with Dr. Murphy. I was looking for a confident, knowledgeable (sometimes those two things do not go hand in hand), and compassionate. I needed to trust the person that puts a knife to my daughters back 😂. He understood and could see my concern. He suggested the halo application prior to surgery and reassured me that safety was his priority. I trust his and his team's expertise.

The halo application sounds scarier than it actually is. Alana experienced two tough days and the following weeks seemed a little too easy. So far, her curve has corrected about twenty-eight degrees! Scottish Rite's staff has enabled me to continue taking care of other obligations. I have three other children that need my time as well. I am able to go to work and feel comfortable that staff members and volunteers keep her busy and safe. It's not like home, but I do feel that we are in good hands.

Tina Blackwell-Alana's Mommy

Early Onset Scoliosis (EOS) is described as scoliosis diagnosed prior to the age of 10 years. For more information on Early Onset Scoliosis, you can visit:
Dr. Dennis Devito profile:…/dennis-p-devito-md/
Dr. Joshua Murphy profile:…/physicians/joshua-murphy-md/