Patient Stories


Bernadette had a ‘clunk’ in her hip identified just two days after she was born. We were assured it would probably be fine but she was going to be referred for a scan on her hips to check. Our first daughter had the hip scan on account of her being breach and she was fine so we thought we knew what was coming.
We took her for her scan when she was one week old and there she was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia. Her right hip was significantly worse than the left. It was definitely a shock despite it being the reason we needed the appointment in the first place. We were still very much in the beautiful, newborn bubble and this news just didn’t belong there.
The next week she was fitted with a Pavlik Harness. This was quite a shocking image having this tiny baby strapped up. It seemed to completely cover her tiny body. I just cried a lot as she was being fitted with it. I’d never seen anything like it before. She could still move in it which I wasn’t expecting and it didn’t affect her in any way. She was still a very happy baby. Nappy changes were difficult but we got used to them and we soon got over the fact we couldn’t bathe her or take her swimming and tried to keep as positive as possible.
She went back and forth to hospital for scans and consultations weekly, each just extending the use of the Pavlik Harness. Her left hip resolved itself and her right hip appeared to be improving just very slowly. However, when she reached ten weeks old, and she had been in the harness for eight of those weeks, our consultant discontinued it because it had been unsuccessful. Her hip was in a ‘subluxed position’ and the cartilage in her joint was now in the way and was stopping her making a full recovery.
We are now waiting for Bernadette to undergo closed reduction surgery and be put in a hip spica cast. I still don’t know exactly what any of this means. I have a vague idea but when I’m in the moment or the second I’m asked if I have any questions my mind draws a blank so we are very much taking it as it comes. It’s such a confusing thing to go through. It’s scary. As a parent, you never want your child to have to go through anything like this and it’s truly heartbreaking when there’s nothing I can do to fix it and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it either.
In the meantime she has no harness so we can bath her and dress her and take her swimming and just enjoy her.
We are waiting for her appointment dates to come through so I feel like we are stuck in limbo with it all at the minute. I keep clinging to the fact that one day she’ll have done it and will be back to full health and while it’s such a bit thing at the minute eventually it will have only lasted such a short time.