Club Hand New Jersey Dr. Standard
Congratulations to James who was recognized in school for his excellent handwriting and art! Just a few years ago, it seemed like these achievements would have been impossible. James was born with radial clubhand, hypoplastic (underdeveloped) thumbs, and very short ulna (forearm) bones that had been left untreated at a welfare institution in China. Without splinting and physical therapy, his fingers had contracted at the joints and he was relying on using his pinky and ring fingers to do everything. James required assistance with daily activities including dressing, eating, schoolwork and managing other fine motor tasks. James started preschool in an integrated classroom identified as a special needs student, and he had an aide through kindergarten and first grade.
A lot has changed since James had ulnarization and pollicization surgeries performed by Dr. Standard and did hard work in physical therapy. His mom, Kristen, shares, “James now has two straight wrists and four functioning fingers with the ability to do a pincer grasp in each hand. He is functioning much more independently and his personal confidence has soared! There is a light in his eyes and a bounce in his step and we are just amazed at all that he can do…. He can utilize a standard keyboard, and uses scissors easily…. He can throw a football and baseball like a rocket, and is about to start martial arts.” In fact, James has become so independent that he will also no longer need special education services.
Kristen continues, “We are so happy for him, and it is incredibly rewarding to know that all of the effort we put into finding the right doctor, preparing for surgery, supporting him through post-op, has truly paid off!”
James chimes in, “Dr. Standard is smart. He is kind. He always draws a smiley face on the arm I am about to have surgery on. He always does a good job of explaining what is about to happen and listening to any questions I might have. Afterwards he comes and checks on me to make sure everything looks good. He is very encouraging.”
Kristen adds, “We are part of several online communities of parents with children who have a variety of orthopedic limb conditions…. Dr. Standard has become known in these communities as the hallmark of an outstanding doctor—not only for his medical expertise and consistently successful patient outcomes, but because he is exceptional in his ability to engender trust with his patients and their families; his care and concern for the patients as a person and not just as a case; his personal commitment to always improving his practice; and an unquestionably humble and honest character that is second to none. We truly feel incredibly blessed and honored to have been able to bring our son to Dr. Standard and the team at RIAO. Dr. Standard’s PAs, Allison and Chris, are outstanding as well. They have been a critical part of making our family feel cared for and supported whether it’s answering emails, caring for James post-op in the hospital or in clinic, or working with our local therapist and school staff. We are so grateful for everything that they have done for our son and family. Marilyn Richardson really goes above and beyond to support patients and families. Her work with the Child Life Team has a big impact on the care and concern that families feel. We always knew that if we needed anything Marilyn would help us. Feeling like you have that extra person in your corner was so reassuring.”
When asked what she would share with parents seeking treatment for a child with club hand, she replies, “We regularly refer people to Dr. Standard and RIAO. We always tell parents that regardless of their final decision, they really need to at least participate in the online chat with Dr. Standard to discuss their child’s case and try to find a way to get to RIAO and do an in person consult with him. There is really nothing like meeting him and the team in person and no matter what you will come away with a better understanding of your options, the kind of questions you need to ask other doctors, and what to expect. Dr. Standard encourages people to take their time, he never pressures anyone or makes it sound like he’s the best and only option (though he is!), and he truly just wants to help families make the decision that they feel the most comfortable with. However, we think it is critical for parents of children with [clubhand] to understand that they need to speak with Dr. Standard to truly understand the ulnarization surgery and why it is the best option for long term success for this condition. Don’t rely on other doctors who don’t do the surgery to tell you what it is or isn’t and what it would mean for your child. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and confusion out there about ulnarization. We want as many families as possible to know that it’s an excellent option, and they can completely trust their child to Dr. Standard’s care.”