Jedriel, 4, nerve injury

Four-year-old Jedriel has been a fighter since he was born. As a baby, he spent 15 days in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. No matter how hard little Jedriel tried during those first weeks, he couldn't move his right upper limb.

At one month of age, Jedriel began to move his fingers. He then was able to move his elbow, but it was very limited. Specialists discovered that Jedriel had sustained a brachial plexus birth palsy (Erb's palsy), a condition where the brachial plexus nerves were damaged during the birthing process.

For Jedriel's mom, Francis, it was a frightening time. Francis and her husband worried their son would not get to live a "normal" life, such as playing catch with his dad and siblings and learning to cook. They also worried he would be bullied for his limb difference.

In 2015, when Jedriel was 2 years old, the family moved to Maryland. Francis decided it was time to find an expert with a vast amount of experience and success in treating brachial plexus birth palsy injuries and other limb differences.

That's when she met pediatric orthopedic surgeon and pediatric upper extremity specialist Joshua Abzug, MD with the University of Maryland Children's Hospital. At their first visit, it seemed like Jedriel's future was full of endless opportunities.

Team Approach

Dr. Abzug evaluated Jedriel with precision and compassion and came up with a game plan that would best suit Jedriel and the family. They'd begin to bring movement back to the shoulder and arm through occupational therapy and splinting.

"Dr. Abzug and the occupational therapy team with University of Maryland has been incredibly helpful," Francis says. "The whole team is very supportive with Jedriel and the rest of the family. They're always teaching us how to help Jedriel become more independent and understand more about his limits."

Dr. Abzug continues to see the family regularly and adjusts Jedriel's treatment plan as he improves. "While limb differences can affect a child for the rest of their life, our goal is to give them the most use of the affected limb as possible through physical therapy and sometimes surgery," says Dr. Abzug. "We also focus on caring for the social and emotional aspects of the child and their family."

Now that Jedriel has more use of his arm, he has shown particular interest in playing basketball with his friends and siblings.

Are you looking for a pediatric specialist? Call the UM Children's Hospital at 410-328-5887.