in the magazine

A Medical Miracle, As Seen on TV


The TV patient smiles with TV joy.Photo:

Grey’s Anatomy wrapped up a special two-part episode last night, and we’re sure you were as fascinated as we were with a case the doctors were facing: A teenage girl came into the hospital with a severe form of scoliosis, known as kyphosis, that left her permanently bent 90 degrees at the waist. The deformity was caused by a rare disorder known as VATER syndrome, and after three unsuccessful surgeries, she thought there was no hope — until Dr. Shepard came up with the ingenious solution to remove the bent part of her spine altogether and rebuild it using a titanium-mesh cage, thereby allowing her to stand up straight for the first time in her life. Wherever, you must have wondered, do the show’s writers come up with such wacky ideas?! In this case, we think we know: In New York’s 2005 Best Doctors issue, we wrote about Krystle Eginger, who suffered the same problem, went through several similarly failed surgeries, and was ultimately saved by Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei at the Hospital for Special Surgery, who also replaced part of her spine with a titanium-mesh cage. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime case!” said Izzy on the show, begging to be allowed to scrub in. We’ll go with twice in a lifetime.

Bent But Not Broken [NYM]

A Medical Miracle, As Seen on TV