Elmhurst Hospital Strives To Restore A Child’s Life – QNS.com

Elmhurst Hospital Strives To Restore A Child’s Life

Little Jenny Amaya, showing all the signs of post traumatic syndrome, was wheeled into an Elmhurst General Hospital news conference last week, only to leave on doctors’ orders minutes later.
The 12-year-old’s face, a mask of sadness, reflected the terror she had experienced a month ago when a devastating earthquake struck her home in the village of Cuba in Colombia, leaving her without a leg and a mother buried in the ruins.
Jenny had watched in horror as the building facade fell on her mother, killing her instantly. Debris from the earthquake crushed part of the girl’s right leg and it was amputated in a Colombian hospital.
She was brought to the Hospital from Colombia by Congressman Joseph Crowley and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez to be fitted for a prosthetic limb and treated for the psychological terrors brought on by the disaster and the trauma following the amputation of her right leg.
The 12-year-old and her sister were flown into LaGuardia Airport from Colombia last Sunday with the two Congressional representatives. They were greeted by a chaotic scene with dozens of reporters, TV crews and photographers jockeying for position in the crowded airport setting.
The scene at Elmhurst General Hospital was also highly charged. Six television cameramen and four still photographers were stationed near the door to an eighth floor conference room as Hospital officials wheeled Jenny into the room suddenly ablaze with lights. Within minutes doctors wheeled the dazed child back to her room.
Dr. Jerry Weissman, director of rehabilitation and director of the amputee clinic, said the "physical part of the treatment plan was pretty straightforward, but the emotional part will be more difficult."
Although he had yet to examine his young patient, Dr. Weissman predicted she would make a good recovery.
"Children who are fitted with a prosthetic device are able to play, run, skate, ski and do almost everything other children do," he said.
Jenny’s father, who hasn’t seen his two daughters for six years, said through an interpreter, "I will provide whatever my children need."
The two Congressional representatives said they would schedule a meeting soon with the Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to allow Jenny’s three other sisters, still in Colombia, to be admitted so the family could be reunited in Amaya’s Jackson Heights home.
Jenny and her sister Maritza, 10, were born in the U.S., but the three other siblings are not U.S. citizens by birth and remain in Colombia.
"There are opportunities here within the framework of the law to keep this family together," Crowley said.
Velasquez said that Jenny’s father spoke to her last Sunday night and she expressed an interest in learning English. She said 10-year-old Maritza "is feeling her sister’s pain. She was holding Jenny’s hand on the plane and helped her dress and undress."
Crowley said he will never forget the scene of destruction in Colombia.
"The Amaya home looked as if a bomb had hit it," he said. Remember 8,000 people were hurt by this terrible earthquake."

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