Town & Style St. Louis
July 22, 2016
The water isn’t clean, the equipment is old, there are no sheets or pillows on the beds. Hardly ideal conditions for a hospital, especially one where children need delicate and dangerous spine surgery. “It’s like going back 100 years,” says Dr. Madelyn Stazzone about pediatric treatment for the poor in the Dominican Republic. Stazzone is president and executive director of Pediatric Orthopedic Project (POP), which treats scoliosis (spine curvature) and other orthopedic problems in children in the Caribbean. Scoliosis is correctable, but in extreme form, it can cause death due to impaired lung and heart function. Although precise figures for how many are affected aren’t known, the need in this small nation is great since the gene pool is smaller on an island, Stazzone explains, so genetic predisposition may be amplified.