Sinai Hospital (part of LifeBridge Health, a Media Works client) in Baltimore has built a center that caters to young patients and their families as a home away from home. The Hackerman-Patz House was built in 2004 as a place where patients and their families from all over the world can stay during and after limb lengthening surgeries to rehabilitate and recuperate. Families of patients have an opportunity in the house to find strength in themselves and support from other families who have loved ones going through similar surgeries.
The International Center for Limb Lengthening at Sinai Hospital, led by Dr. John Herzenberg, is designed to provide the most technologically-advanced treatments for upper and lower limb discrepancies, deformities, defects, infections, and short stature. Patients from all 50 states, over 50 countries and across 6 continents have come to this center for treatment. After surgery, patients can stay between one night to a year at the Hackerman-Patz House as long as another surgery or appointment is scheduled during their time at the home.
The Media Works team took time on Tuesday evening to visit the Hackerman-Patz house to bring dinner and gifts. Gwen, the coordinator of the home, took us on a tour of the house and gave us a chance to meet some of the patients that are staying there. We learned that many of the patients are young children who are in need of lengthening surgery to live a normal life.
The patients currently at the house range from 2-months-old to 30-years-old. The 2-month-old baby girl was diagnosed with twisted limbs 7 months into her mother’s pregnancy. The family flew in all the way from Ecuador to undergo surgeries. The 2nd youngest, a 2-year-old boy was at Hackerman-Patz with both his mother and father for limb lengthening for his right arm. There were 3 teenage girls we met, one who recently went through a surgery and is still in a wheel chair, and another girl from Cleveland who has been going through surgeries due to dwarfism. Both her parents, who work for newspapers, have been able to continue working directly from the house.
What the team at Media Works found wonderful is how Dr. Herzenberg, his medical team, and his family come to the Hackerman-Patz house to visit the patients as friends and not just as their medical team. They come to talk, hang out, play games and just spend time with the patients and families and get to know them on a personal level.
We all look forward to returning to the Hackerman-Patz house for another dinner and some more personal time with the patients. It was truly a touching experience for all of us.