Mother breaks her own daughter's leg over 300 times to avoid amputation

By Kirstin Buick
30 April 2016

"We asked ourselves if we were being cruel to put our daughter through this and whether it was worth it. But we knew it was the right decision."

As a result of a condition known as proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), little Elsie Moravek was born with one leg much shorter than the other.

Doctors told her parents their now four-year-old daughter had three options – to amputate Elsie's leg, fit a prosthesis or lengthen her limb by 11 cm.

But for Elsie's mother Jackie (28) and father Matt (31), there was only one choice.

"A few local doctors suggested amputation, and we considered it because the leg lengthening process is so difficult to endure," Jackie, from Kalamazoo, in Michigan, US, said.

"We asked ourselves if we were being cruel to put our daughter through this and whether it was worth it.

"But we knew it was the right decision."

Elsie and her older sister Mila. PHOTO: Facebook Elsie and her older sister Mila. PHOTO: Facebook

Doctors surgically split Elsie's femur and tibia and fitted her with a device that UK paper The Mirror likens to "medieval torture device 'the rack'."

The external device was essentially drilled into Elsie, then only three years old, with ten pins piercing through her skin, muscle and bone.

With it, determined mom Jackie had to unscrew the pins to pull her daughter's femur and tibia apart three times every single day, preventing the break from healing.

While it caused the little girl excruciating pain, it turned out to be her saviour.

The gut-wrenching process allowed new bone, muscle and skin to grow, gradually lengthening Elsie's leg by 11 cm over the course of four months.

Read more: Mom pleads for help for her sick daughter: ‘The doctors don’t have anymore answers’

"I felt very helpless," said Jackie, who also blogs about Elsie's ordeal. "I was very pleased with her progress but it was hard to see her in pain and crying."

Elsie's leg was lengthened by 11 cm over the course of four months. Elsie's leg was lengthened by 11 cm over the course of four months.

"I would have to put my mum hat on and push through it because I knew what the end result would be."

Elsie was constantly medicated to deal with the pain.

The worst part for Jackie, who is also mom to six-year-old Mila, was cleaning the open wounds where the ten pins had been drilled into her bone, she admitted.

"It was agony for her. I felt upset watching her go through it, but we had a goal in mind."

Read more: Dad shares photo of baby girl’s foot as a warning to other parents about dangerous condition

Now Elsie's legs are the same length -- but the poor youngster will have to endure the awful process again.

Her left her left limb still has a growth deficiency, they will grow out of sync again, MailOnline reports, so the procedure will have to be repeated when Elsie reaches her full height.

But Jackie and Matthew say it will be worth it.

"We wanted to give Elsie the best life possible and we thought the best option was to lengthen her leg."

Sources: The Mirror, MailOnline, The Sun

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