ABC Good Morning America – June 7, 2005
Krystle Eginger, was born with VATER syndrome which causes vertebral, anal, tracheal, esophageal and renal defects. Due to chronic kyphosis, the most visible abnormality was in her spine. When Krystle was 8 years old, her spine was growing at a 90-degree angle causing her to body to be almost bent in half.
Over the past 17 years, Krystle visited several doctors and underwent several failed attempts to correct the problem. As a result, Krystle was constantly being taunted by peers and even insensitive adults. The mockery was so unbearable that she dropped out of high school her sophomore year. Even worse was when Krystle's organs started failing. The physical effects of VATER were now life-threatening.
Sympathetic to Krystle’s condition, Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, chief of the Scoliosis Service at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, was determined to help and offered her another chance. His operation could have high risks of paralysis or even death, but it was a risk Krystle and her family were willing to take for a chance to stand up straight and live a normal teenager's life.
In the procedure, Dr. Boachie-Adjei cut out the bent portion of Krystle's spine. Then he used titanium mesh along with two steels rods and artificially reconnected the straight portions of her spine.
As a result, Krystle now stands up straight and tall at 4'11". Her organs have improved in functionality. She has returned to school and is getting good grades. Best of all, Krystle says she feels great.
This story originally appeared at abcnews.go.com