Kaleb Webb's mother wants him to be able to run just like any other child. But hurdles have been placed in front of him since Day 1.
He was born four weeks premature after his mom was in a car accident Jan. 26, 2010. He suffered from hypoxia (lack of oxygen), placental abruption (when the placenta peels away from the walls of the uterus) and partial brain damage. He was even pronounced clinically dead that day.
Kaleb was resuscitated nine minutes later, and he has been clearing those hurdles ever since.
The initial prognosis for Kaleb, who is now 3, was vague.
"It was really bleak at first," said Gail Gowitt, Kaleb's mom. "Doctors weren't able to tell what he was going to be able to do."
At 8 months, Kaleb's parents and pediatrician started noticing developmental delays in him, like not reaching to feed himself. He began physical therapy at Children's at Satellite Boulevard shortly after.
By the time he was 18 months old, however, Kaleb still wasn't able to walk due to spasticity (stiff or rigid muscles) in his legs. He was then diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP).
The family met with Tamara Zagustin, M.D., a Pediatric Physiatrist with the Children's Rehabilitation Associates, to find out what they should do next.
Dr. Zagustin said Kaleb may be a candidate for a surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). This is a neurosurgical procedure that can reduce spasticity without affecting sensation or strength.
When Kaleb's parents met William Boydston, Ph.D., M.D., Pediatric Neurosurgeon and the Practice Director of Neurosurgery, who would be doing the procedure, they were convinced it was the right step for their son.
"I've never had an experience with a doctor like this," Gail said. "He came in and scooped up Kaleb into his arms and hugged him. It was amazing."
Kaleb had the procedure June 14, 2013 and was in the Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit (CIRU) for 40 days afterward.
"The therapy was very intensive," his mother said. "I guess I didn't know what to expect. The treatment he got was so great. All day, he was doing something to build strength. The physical therapist had him walking in two weeks."
Because of his CP, Kaleb had developed habits, like walking with his feet turned in and tripping over one another, that made it difficult to walk. Before he was discharged from the CIRU on July 19, 2013, he had already made significant progress in learning to place his legs in the correct position as he walked.
Two days after being discharged, Kaleb started physical therapy again through our Outpatient Rehabilitation Program to help build his muscle tone.
"He deserves to run," Gail said. "All kids deserve that. Children's is going to give him that chance."