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Personal, Uncategorized

January 6, 2012

Dr. Waner, Our Hero // Vascular Anomalies Clinic NYC

Seeing Dr. Waner wasn’t on our list of things to do when we arrived in NYC.  As we were walking by Beth Israel Hospital the first day we were there, I remembered that Dr. Waner had transferred from Arkansas Children’s Hospital to Beth Israel. So, when we got back to our room that night, I looked him up online and found that he was in NYC. I wrote a quick e-mail saying that we were in town and would LOVE to see him if he had time. I knew it was a long shot as he is very busy, but I also knew how special it would be.

Emily was born with a very rare birthmark on the palm of her left hand called an arterio venous malformation. It was misdiagnosed as a cavernous hemangioma eight times over the course of her first two years of life. When she was 2 years and 3 months old, her AVM hemorrhaged. Little did we know that the next year would be spent in and out of Children’s Hospital in Seattle with numerous trips to the ER with her hand hemorrhaging. You can imagine how stressful these episodes were as a hemorrhaging artery is pretty powerful.  It makes me sick to my stomach just remembering.  Long story short, due to the nature of her rare defect, we ended up finding the only doctor in the nation who knew what to do for her. . .Dr. Waner.  Over labor day after a very scary and life threatening episode we were flown back to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for surgery. It was obviously even more successful than they had anticipated as they thought she’d lose the use of three of her fingers. The same year that Emily had her surgery, Dr. Waner ended up on the cover of US News and World Report as one of the best doctors in the nation (see picture below). He was with a little girl who looked like Emily. She carried the magazine around with her and talked about Dr. Waner for months.

The second day we were in NYC, I noticed I had missed a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I listened to the voice mail and it was from Dr. Waner’s nurse saying that he would love to see us if we could make it to his office before 3:00. I looked at my watch and it was 2:30. I looked at the map and we were a long ways away.  John hailed a taxi, we jumped in, gave the address and felt like we were on a high speed chase. We arrived right at 3:00! :)  We were shocked that Dr. Waner remembered us and actually was able to spend time with us. He even walked us to Central Park and shared some fun history with us.

Dr. Waner is an amazing doctor with a big heart. He truly has a passion for children who have been born with severe deformities. He doesn’t do what he does for money. . .he does it because he loves helping children have a new life. Emily’s was so minor in comparison to so many he works on, but we truly believe he saved her life. Here is one of the most recent articles about Dr. Waner . . .http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ethiopian-girl-4-rare-facial-deformity-flown-n-y-free-surgeries-article-1.947370  We feel so blessed that God led us to Dr. Waner back in 1998 and again for Emily to meet him in 2011.