After 17 surgeries, Sebring teen is glad to be on the mend

SEBRING — Sydney Samblanet sat beside her mother, Tracie McFerren, in their car, as they drove to their Sebring home.

The seven-hour drive back from New York City on Oct. 10 turned into something like 10 or 12 hours, as Tracie doted on her 14-year-old daughter who had just weathered hours of surgery in two operations in about a week.

Despite the discomfort of post-surgery pain,

Sydney recalls how eager she was to leave the Big Apple and endure the drive.

They were going home.

Sydney was born with a condition that progressed so quickly, by the age of 2, her spine curvature was at 90 degrees.

In early stages, infantile idiopathic scoliosis can leave those afflicted with a hump. In late stages, it can lead to heart ailments, respiratory problems and paralysis.

“If they have the severe curves, and it’s not treated, they will die of respiratory problems in their early 30s,” said Dr. George Thompson, director of pediatric orthopedics at Rainbow Babies and Children Hospital in Cleveland.

Earlier this fall, Sydney underwent 22 hours of surgery, split between two operations at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.

She and her doctors hope the Oct. 5 surgery – her 17th in her scoliosis history – would be her last.

For the complete story, read Thursday's Vindicator and

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.