Shiru, five days after her surgery

I first heard about Shiru from Paula, the nurse manager of the Bothin Burn Center in San Francisco, after she returned from a Rotaplast trip. Paula worked in the recovery room and bonded with Shiru, who had neck surgery during that trip, allowing her to gaze forward instead of having her chin stuck down on her chest.

This time Shiru was able to have surgery for both of her shoulders. The scars were impressive, unlike anything I’ve seen in my 38 year career as a physical therapist working with burns. One shoulder was completely attached to her body. The surgeons carefully separated her arm from her torso, I assisted during surgery by making a splint that holds her arm in a position that will allow her to regain function after she has healed from surgery.

After surgery, I was able to visit Shiru in the hospital ward, and reviewed the program she will need to follow to get back the function she lost. She will need to wear the splint when she goes home, and will soon be allowed to begin moving. I reviewed her exercise program with her and with her mother and father who were at the bedside in the hospital. Before being discharged to her home, she will be examined by the doctors, instructions clarified, questions answered.

Shiru has had a smile on her face from the screening clinic throughout the entire mission. It is hard to imagine how different her life will be with the ability to use both of her arms.
Linda Zellerbach, Physical Therapist
Linda Zellerbach, PT completing a splint for a patient following a contracture release caused by a burn.