During what was supposed to be a much-needed break, Grace Taylor suffered an injury that made a hard time even harder.
Grace, 10 years old at the time, was spending time at the lake on Father’s Day. Her father was killed a month earlier after getting hit by a car while riding his bike. Grace’s mother, Barbara, sent her daughter to the lake with some friends to take her mind off of her father not being around.
“I just wanted to get her out of the house and in a different environment,” Barbara said.
While at the lake, Grace slipped and fell on the dock. Her left leg went into the water but her right leg stayed on the dock. Afterwards, Grace felt severe pain and discomfort in her right hip.
Barbara took Grace to the Emergency Department at Egleston hospital for an X-ray. Nicholas Fletcher, M.D., a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Egleston hospital, had no problem identifying Grace’s injury as slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE). SCFE is a hip condition in which the head of the thigh bone slips off the neck of the bone.
Dr. Fletcher recommended a surgery that would keep Grace, a very active child, in a wheelchair for some time. He left the decision with Barbara.
“He said that I had a big decision to make,” Barbara said. “Ultimately, he outlined the objectives. He wanted Grace to have long-term success, but she would have to make a short-term sacrifice.”
Grace underwent her procedure, a surgical dislocation with a modified Dunn osteotomy and proximal capital realignment, on the morning of June 18, the day after the injury.
“This surgery has allowed us to improve on the outcome of a condition which may be potentially devastating for children,” Dr. Fletcher said. “It is our hope that with time she will return to all of her activities and will not have any problems with her hip down the road.”
While in the hospital, Grace’s rehabilitation plan was explained to Barbara. Her daughter’s recovery required Grace to temporarily give up a lot of the things she most enjoyed. Grace had to be in a wheelchair for eight weeks and then on crutches for another eight weeks.
That meant the camps she was planning on attending during the summer for soccer, basketball and cheerleading had to be put off until next summer. She even spent her 11th birthday and her first day in sixth grade in her wheelchair.
Grace did her physical therapy at Children’s at North Druid Hills with Eddie Fagan, P.T. She worked hard enough to be cleared to play sports three months ahead of schedule.
After such a difficult year, Grace is finally getting back to being a kid.
“She struggled and she rallied,” Barbara said. “She was doing the things that she needed to be doing. She never really lost her smile.”