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Claire McMullen: Patient of Dr. Amer Samdani BY CANDACE McMULLEN

Claire is a 16-year-old girl who was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis at the age of 12. She initially developed a right sided rib thoracic prominence and right shoulder elevation that prompted further evaluation. At the time of initial diagnosis, she presented with a 37 degree thoracic and 22 degree lumbar curvature. Claire was initially treated conservatively with a Boston Brace for a year and a half and then on-going monitoring of the curve progression. In June 2018, during a routine follow-up, Claire’s thoracic curve progressed to 59 degrees…an 11 degree change in a six month period. Her pediatric neurosurgeon recommended surgical correction. Along with the increase in curvature, she was experiencing increased back pain with simple activities of daily living and balance difficulties.

In the weeks that followed that visit, I spoke with several people who highly recommended Dr. Amer Samdani at Shriner’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A second opinion was scheduled with Dr. Samdani shortly thereafter. We were so fortunate that Dr. Samdani agreed to evaluate Claire. At our first visit, we fell in love with Dr. Samdani! He was so thorough, confident and patient as he explained her treatment options, risks and benefits with each option. At the end of that visit, Claire insisted (and her dad and I agreed) Dr. Samdani perform her surgery. While the wait for his surgical schedule is typically six months or more, due to a cancellation we were offered a surgical date the following month. We immediately accepted!

Claire is now 14 weeks post spinal fusion T4-T12 and doing quite well! She now has a very minimal thoracic curve. Our experience with Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia has been nothing but great! Claire is still in the midst of her recovery phase and hasn’t yet returned to full function, but she is progressing as expected. She recently started ballet class, something she has always wanted to do! She is looking forward to a full release to return to all of her favorite activities…pain free!

No parent wants their child to endure a major surgery but, as a nurse and a mother, I am so grateful that we were blessed to have Dr. Samdani, his surgical team, and the staff at Shriner’s Hospital to guide and care for us through this journey!