“Eliza was balancing on a curb nearby when she lost her footing and fell on her left hand,” recalls Jenifer, her mother. “The glass bottle she was holding shattered in her hand. Someone ran out of a nearby office building to help us, and we called 911. We immediately went to Nicklaus Children's.”
Eliza arrived at the hospital and was taken to a room where the medical staff wrapped her hand and discussed her options for treatment. Deirdre Marshall, MD, plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Nicklaus Children's, was assigned to perform the surgery.
Upon discovering that Eliza would need surgery, her father Robert, who owns a hair salon in Miami, called a client to discuss options for surgeons. Jefry Biehler, MD, emergency medicine physician at Nicklaus Children's, assured Robert that Dr. Marshall was the best choice.
“Dr. Biehler not only highly recommended Dr. Marshall to me, he also took the time to visit Eliza while she was in the hospital,” says Robert. “That’s just one example
of the kind of personal attention and reassurance we received from the Nicklaus Children's medical staff.”
The next day, Dr. Marshall performed the surgery to restore the nerves and tendons affecting Eliza’s hand, elbow and wrist.
“I’m left-handed, so beyond being very scared, I was worried that I wouldn’t regain feeling in that hand,” says Eliza. “Dr. Marshall and the whole staff put me at ease by constantly checking on me and explaining what was happening.”
After her surgery, Eliza required extensive physical therapy three times per week for six months at Nicklaus Children's. During her time there, which her mother credits as a major factor in Eliza’s successful recovery, she worked to gain strength in her hand by squeezing Silly Putty and picking up marbles using tweezers. Eliza now has full use of her hand.
A Star is Born
A dancer since age 3, Eliza discovered new skills in her teenage years: singing, songwriting and playing the guitar. The former Junior Orange Bowl Queen is now a high school junior at Miami Palmetto Senior High and hopes to make it big as a singer and songwriter. Eliza recently released her first CD, a compilation of inspirational messages based on the Book of Psalms in the Bible. She also plans to keep playing her guitar, using her fully restored left hand to make her music.
“Without Dr. Marshall and the staff at Nicklaus Children's, Eliza would not be able to do the things she loves as well as the simple things we all take for granted,” says Robert. “There is such a humanness and a caring among the staff that made my daughter want to work hard to recover. We are forever grateful.”