A nine-year-old boy born with a rare genetic defect that left him unable to move his joints is now learning to walk, following a successful surgery performed by doctors in the Pediatric Orthopedics Unit at Rambam Health Care Campus.
Nine-year-old Michael was born in Uzbekistan with a rare genetic disorder called Arthrogryposis, which is characterized by joint stiffness and muscle weakness throughout the body. Michael suffers from one of the more painful variants of this condition, and it left him unable to bend his joints or do anything for himself.
Michael spent the first four years of his life hospitalized as an orphan, but was then adopted by Elena, a midwife by profession, who learned about him while working in the same place where he was hospitalized. Since then, her life’s mission has been to bring healing to her son. These efforts have included worldwide fundraising and pursuit of treatments in Russia, Germany, and most recently, Israel, where she brought her son to Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital at Rambam Health Care Campus. To date, Michael has undergone 13 extremely complex operations, including two at Rambam, and will most likely need additional surgeries to achieve further mobility.
“Michael arrived here three or four months ago. If we take into account that all of his joints were like stones when I first saw him, I didn’t really believe that he would be able to take even one step,” admits Professor Mark Eidelman, the Director of Rambam’s Pediatric Orthopedics Unit.
Against all odds, the dedicated surgical team, led by Professor Eidelman, succeeded in giving Michael the ability to bend his knees. “It was hard, because I didn’t know what I had to do. But now I can walk, so I’m happy!” explains Michael with a grin.
“Everyone here is crazy about them,” says Professor Eidelman, “He is simply a wonder child.”
Click below to see Michael walk and learn about his incredible story.