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Eleven-year-old Amir is in sixth grade. He was born with multiple spinal problems, including spina bifida and congenital complex spinal deformity, a condition in which an area of the spinal column doesn’t form properly, leaving a section of the spinal cord and spinal nerves exposed through an opening in the back. He also has severe curvature of the spine, and he is of short stature. These conditions have affected his ability to play the sports that he loves.
In 2020, his mother died suddenly, and he has since been adopted by his second cousin, Veda. “He is very resilient and has adjusted,” says Veda proudly. “He loves video games, reading, watching the Philadelphia Eagles and holding in-depth conversations.”
Veda brought Amir to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where he is cared for by several specialists, including a team in the Division of Orthopaedics. Dr. Keith Baldwin, a scoliosis surgeon and the Director of Orthopaedic Trauma, has directed his care. Amir has undergone surgeries to detether his spinal cord by Dr. Gregory Heuer, and Drs. Baldwin and Jason Anari performed surgery to stabilize and decrease the curvature of his spine.
“Amir is a tough guy who has experienced a lot in his short, young life and is improving nicely after his surgery. Throughout it all, he has maintained a happy and cheerful attitude that is frankly inspirational,” says Dr. Baldwin.
“This procedure has added 4 inches to his height and has improved his self-confidence,” Veda reports. “Dr. Baldwin and his team were compassionate and provided excellent care to Amir.”