Zachary’s Story

Zachary Nelson was born with a rare condition called diastrophic dysplasia, a disorder of the bone and cartilage that affects the musculoskeletal system. Only 9 years old, he has spent more time in the hospital and in doctors’ offices than most people will in a lifetime. 

Zachary first came to OIC when he was 7 and met with Dr. Anthony Scaduto.

“He had received treatment elsewhere, but at that point in his life, we needed to have a doctor who specialized in rare pediatric orthopedic conditions,” says Zachary’s mother, Donna. “And we wanted someone who would be committed to Zachary as a person, not just a patient.”

After performing multiple major surgeries and using a special growth-guidance system, Dr. Scaduto and his team have successfully straightened Zachary’s legs. With straighter legs, the cheerful boy with an infectious smile is walking and playing more with the use of his crutches, and only needs his wheelchair for longer distances.

But Zachary still has a long road ahead of him. He will need further surgery to stabilize the curvature of his spine and hip surgery to improve his mobility, but his doctors are optimistic. “Like everyone’s life, Zachary’s continues to be full,” Donna says. “We can’t make light of what he faces, but with his tremendous spirit, the support of our family, the care we get at OIC, the personal relationship we have with Dr. Scaduto and the OIC team, we are able to make progress and share many moments of great joy.”


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