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Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Healthwatch Fall 2009

Extraordinary Care: Twice in a Lifetime

Dance of Life Goes on Thanks to Esteemed Pediatric Surgeons


Twice in 18-year-old Sabrina's young life, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital has come to the rescue. When she was 6 years old, her appendix ruptured and the infection spread through her body.

"Sabrina almost died," says her mother, Felicia. The family credits pediatric surgeon Gary Birken, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief at
Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, and the hospital's remarkable healthcare team with saving Sabrina's life.

"I can't say enough about Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital," says Felicia. "They are just tremendous, especially when a parent is going through a frightening experience with a young child. I would recommend Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital to anybody."

Sabrina remembers that childhood hospital stay, too. "They just took such good care of me and made me feel really important," she says.

Dancing Into the Future

Since that extraordinary recovery, Sabrina has become an accomplished dancer with a demanding practice schedule. The only thing that's ever slowed her down is her bad knee.

Gary Birken, MD

Gary Birken, MD
Pediatric Surgeon

Randolph B. Cohen, MD

Randolph B. Cohen, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

The family turned to orthopedic surgeon Randolph B. Cohen, MD, and the pediatric orthopedics team at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. The problem was she had two small bone fragments embedded next to her kneecap, causing abrasion and discomfort. Dr. Cohen performed surgery to remove the bone chips and tighten the tendons on the side of her knee, which had stretched out like a weakened rubber band. Sabrina needed those tissues to move or "track" with utmost precision so she could dance confidently and without risking injury.

Sabrina was in and out of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in less than a day. "The nurses were sweet," she says. "They taught my parents and me everything we needed to know about what to expect during my recovery at home."

Sabrina's leg was kept immobile for two weeks. Then every week for three weeks, Dr. Cohen adjusted the brace to increase the motion in her knee. Next, the brace was removed and Sabrina underwent intense physical therapy.

"My knee is perfect since the surgery," she says. "It all came back."

Today, Sabrina hopes to become a professional dancer, and she thanks Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital for helping her keep that goal in reach.

"I've always been able to count on Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital," Sabrina says. "First they saved my life, and then they saved my dreams."

To find a Memorial physician who is committed to patient- and family-centered care, call Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Physician Referral Service toll-free at (866) JDCH-DOC. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.