Sheffield hospital experts give boy chance to take steps

Cavan MacCallum
Cavan MacCallum
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A boy who faced having his arms and legs amputated because of a rare condition is now looking forward to walking unaided, thanks to Sheffield medics.

Cavan Kirkham-MacCallum, aged seven, has hemimelia, a rare congenital disorder which means he was born with certain bones missing in his arms and legs.

The condition was first picked up by doctors when Cavan’s mum, Bernadette, went for her 20 week scan - however, the extent of his illness was not clear until he was born six-and-a-half weeks prematurely.

Bernadette and Cavan’s dad, James, travelled around the country seeking treatment options, with some doctors suggesting that all four limbs should be amputated.

They even went to America, where specialists suggested a limb reconstruction procedure - but the surgery was expensive and would have required the family moving to the USA.

However, a charity called Steps then recommended James Fernandes, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, who came up with a plan largely matching the American specialists’ suggestions.

The schoolboy began his treatment aged two with an operation to remove his right leg, followed by operations to reconstruct his left leg and release the webbed fingers in his left hand.

Cavan and his parents travelled to the hospital again from their home in Northampton this month to reposition his left foot.

A frame has been placed around the boy’s leg which will be adjusted over the next year.

Bernadette said: “We know that Cavan will be visiting the hospital for a long time, and he’s due to have another operation at 12 and possibly another at 16.

“He’s so brave when he comes into the hospital, and he’s aware that it’s a long process, but he knows that Mr Fernandes will do his absolute best for him.”

Mr Fernandes said: “His condition is very complex, but each operation gets Cavan closer to where he wants to be. He is an absolutely fantastic patient.”