Emet Moreira was born in 2018. At the time of his birth, Emet's shoulder became stuck in his mother's pelvis, causing an injury to his brachial plexus, a network of nerves in the neck that control the arm. Emet could not move or lift his arm. He initially saw a physical therapist, who recommended stretches the family could perform at home to prevent contractures, with the hope that the nerves would improve on their own.
“I was slightly in denial about his condition. I took him to see a physical therapist, but over time, we noticed he was not showing improvement. This was when our therapist referred us to the Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Program at Nicklaus Children's Hospital,” said Emet's mother, Natasha.
The family first met with medical director Dr. Aaron Berger, who explained the best treatment course for Emet. Dr. Berger then introduced Nancy Quinn, an occupational therapist for the program. The team then collaborated to find the best treatment plan for Emet.
Initial management included intensive pediatric occupational therapy and the fabrication of a specialized (Sup-ER) splint to maintain Emet's shoulder and forearm in a better position.
“Nancy was so helpful and has been a great partner to Dr. Berger. In the beginning, Nancy worked hard to gain Emet's trust and build a relationship with him. Now she is Emet's best friend. I have told many people that I am so impressed with how easy it is to talk with Dr. Berger and Nancy about Emet's treatment plan,” said Natasha.
Nancy, Dr. Berger and Emet's family hoped that Emet's nerves would show signs of spontaneous recovery, but the arm remained very weak. In addition, the affected shoulder dislocated. Therefore, at 7 months old, Emet had surgery to repair/reconstruct the nerves of the brachial plexus. Although it took a while for the nerves to recover, he now has regained very good function in the affected arm. He continues his therapy and goes to Nicklaus Children's for quarterly checkups with Dr. Berger. Now he only wears a small brace at night to help stretch his arm and straighten his elbow.
“My son is a problem solver. He has figured out how to do everything he wants to do. Emet is motivated and grateful for the help he received and continues to receive from Dr. Berger and the rest of the team. Emet had an amazing head start and now has a high chance of having a fully functioning arm due to the care he received at Nicklaus Children's,” said Natasha.
Emet is now 4 years old and aspires to be a Power Ranger or a ninja. He continues to be an inspiration to his five siblings and all those around him.