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Valley baby regains use of right arm after surgery for rare condition

The Khans learned that when it comes to a rare diagnosis: digging for more information can make all the difference.

PHOENIX — When the Khan family discovered that their baby girl couldn’t use one of her arms, they took a journey down the frightening path of a rare diagnosis and the lack of information that sometimes comes with it.

Catherine Khan started to notice that her baby girl, Charlotte, wasn’t using her right arm at all.

“I was like, oh my goodness, I have to call her pediatrician to get her in and see what’s going on with right arm,” Khan said.

Their pediatrician diagnosed the condition as Erbs Palsy, but didn’t provide much else, leaving the Khans unsure of what to do next. In her research, Catherine found a Facebook support group for Erbs Palsy. The advice she received from that group changed everything.

“Once I joined that Facebook group, they were like, ‘No, you need to see a specialist; you can’t just go see your average neurologist, you have to see a Brachial Plexus specialist.’ So, to me, that right there is what saved her,” Khan said.

And, as it happens, there is one of the best right here in her own backyard, at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“Well, to seek me out is really a tribute to the Kahn family that they did their research,” said Dr. David Adelson, Chief of Neurosurgery and Director of Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “What happens in these instances is that the nerves have gotten stretched and there is scar tissue that forms.”

After a two-hour surgery, and a little recovery, Charlotte’s arm has complete movement.

“Charlotte is doing things that we could have never envisioned her doing eight months post-surgery. So, we’re extremely grateful and ecstatic and celebrating every little milestone because there are things that we never thought would happen,” Khan beamed.

The Khans learned that when it comes to a rare diagnosis: digging for more information can make all the difference.

“Find out early what’s going on and what’s the best treatment.” Dr. Adelson advised.

Seeing their daughter move around effortlessly gives the Khans a sense that her future is wide open with no physical berries to limit her possibilities.

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