It is encouraging to know that as medical technology continues to improve, doctors are still using such advances for good.
Violet Pietrok, now two years old, was born with a defect known as Tessier facial cleft. The defect, which results in a failure for the bones which join to form a child’s face, is so rare that only 100 cases of the kind which affect Violet have ever been documented. Violet had a large gap in the center of her face and no cartilage in her nose. Her twin sister does not have the condition.
Violet was able to undergo surgery in October to correct her condition. From The Independent:
Last October, Violet underwent six-hour-long major surgery at Boston’s Children Hospital with both a plastic surgeon and neurosurgeon.
Before the operation, doctors printed a 3D model of Violet’s skull based on magnetic resonance imaging pictures, the New York Times reported. Further models allowed surgeon Dr John Meara to test the method to adjoin Violet’s face, while not interfering with her brain or nerve functions.
In the past, such models would have cost thousands of pounds and would have taken weeks to build. But Dr Peter Weinstock at the children’s hospital was able to produce four highly accurate models for $1,200 (£813) according to the New York Times.
Such a model for Violet was not only accurate, but quickly produced and for less money than in the past, showing a hopeful sign for other similar operations.
Violet’s mother, Alicia Taylor, has said that her daughter is happy, and two year old is back to her mischievous self. She also has “high hopes” about there not being any further problems.
The Independent closes its piece with a link to a Facebook page set up by Taylor for those who wish to follow Violet’s journey. And, it also mentions that “Ms Taylor added that she hopes that by sharing Violet’s story, less people will be shocked by facial deformities.”
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Ms. Taylor’s last point is a telling one. While we live in a society with great medical advances, we have also not yet caught up to accepting those with such kind of facial deformities. Many would consider a prenatal diagnosis of a deformity to be reason to abort, even if the diagnosis was for something minor or so late in term. And, such abortions have even been carried out on babies who turned out to be completely healthy. Children have also been marked for abortions for less severe cleft issues, which can be corrected at birth.
Christian Buchanan has become a popular example of a child who was born with a kind of Tessier facial cleft, and so had no eyes, but whose mother refused to abort him, and instead gave him love and support. She too has encouraged the world to be more accepting of such children.
At the end of the day, those with deformities may look or seem different from us, but they are still nevertheless people who deserve not only the right to life, but the right to be loved and respected.