Our last post introduced a type of in-utero injury known as amniotic band syndrome. This condition occurs when fibrous strands break away from the amniotic sac and entwine around a fetus’s limbs or fingers. The strands can constrict blood flow enough to amputate or severely damage the limb or digits.
While ultrasounds and other imaging techniques can spot amniotic band syndrome and other pregnancy complications in time to perform corrective fetal surgery procedures, many cases do not become apparent until the child has been born. For these families, reconstructive surgery is often inadequate to repair the damage.
This was the case for Sarah Herron, a 25-year-old advertising executive who is competing on “The Bachelor.” Herron was born with her left arm amputated at the elbow. Nevertheless, she has turned what others might see as a devastating birth defect into a source of positivity and inspiration for thousands.
In an interview with USA Today, Herron credited her arm as an advantage, saying “It helped me stand out and catch his attention, and I’m grateful for that.” Herron also said that the vulnerability of going on a hit show like “The Bachelor” required a lot of courage but that she “decided to bite the bullet and apply.”
While her future on “The Bachelor” remains (quite literally) to be seen, Herron has already become an inspirational role model for many people. She told USA Today about the volume of “incredibly positive” comments and feedback about her appearance on the show.
Herron’s experience is certainly encouraging – but life presents many difficult challenges for children born after amniotic band syndrome. Many families may face a difficult time providing for a child’s long-term care needs. When a birth defect potentially involves negligence on the part of a doctor or hospital, a birth injuries lawyer can help families determine whether they have a claim for medical malpractice.
Source: USA Today, “Sarah Herron’s disability is advantage on ‘Bachelor’,” Ann Oldenburg, Jan. 17, 2013