COLUMBUS, OH (KTVI) – At 18 weeks pregnant, Amanda and Corey Coe’s unborn child was diagnosed with bilateral clubfeet. While the diagnosis was surprising to the couple, Amanda said finding out early gave them time to do extensive research and carefully choose the best course of treatment for their son, Griffin.
“We wanted to find somebody who specialized in pediatric disorders and deformities, and all of the signs pointed to Dr. Dobbs,” said Amanda.
Dr. Matthew Dobbs is a nationally recognized orthopedic surgeon at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and professor of orthopedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. Dobbs specializes in treating clubfoot where the child’s foot grows downward and inward. According to Dobbs, one in 1,000 births is affected by the condition.
Dobbs practices a technique involving gentle manipulation and casting. He says the method is less invasive and has a higher success rate than previous treatment involving surgery.
The Coe family lives in Columbus, Ohio more than 400 miles away from St. Louis. Griffin’s condition will require years of treatments and doctor visits so by choosing to have him treated in St. Louis, they were making a big commitment to extensive travel. Amanda and Corey worried how that kind of travel would impact Griffin’s older sisters, but they said they were committed to getting Griffin the best care they could find.
For their first trip to St. Louis, the family drove from Columbus. It was during that visit, they learned about Wings of Hope – an organization based in Chesterfield that’s been providing medical transport for more than 50 years.
“We first contacted them and they flew us out the first time, we thought ‘Oh, that’s really neat,’ but we didn’t realize how committed they were going to be with his entire medical journey,” said Corey.
During the first 10 weeks of Griffin’s short life, the Coe family traveled to St. Louis six times for Griffin’s treatments. After the first trip, Wings of Hope has provided all of the family’s transportation.
“If you were to pay for that commercially, you would probably pay several thousand dollars,” said Don Hamblen, President of Wings of Hope. “It could be upwards to five thousand dollars a round trip depending on the distance, and depending on the level of care that was going to be provided to the patient en route.”
The nonprofit organization is made up of volunteer professional pilots, nurses and airplane mechanics.