Keenan’s ABS Story

Keenan Robert is our firstborn child and we could not be more proud of him.

While I was pregnant with Keenan, my husband and I prayed that he would have a wonderful personality and that he would be nothing more and nothing less than God wanted him to be. He is exactly that, a perfect creation from God. He smiles all the time and loves people!! At first, we both wondered if it was somehow our fault that Keenan was born without his left lower arm. Soon we were reminded of the story in John, chapter 9, when Jesus was confronted with a similar question. His disciples asked him about a man born without his sight, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus responded, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” We truly believe if we continue to have a positive attitude, our family can use this situation to bring glory to God.

After a recent visit to Shriner’s Hospital, we were told by a physician that Keenan’s “congenital below the elbow amputation” was not due to an amniotic band (as we had been told by the OB and pediatrician), but rather, caused by a sporadic genetic incident. Because Keenan did not have any remnants of a band at the time of delivery, as well as the appearance with the very small digits, the specialist came to this conclusion. We were told that this genetic amputation is sometimes linked with heart and kidney defects; however, are no signs that our child has these other conditions. We were told that 75% of the time, with the genetic cause, it affects the left side. The reason we wanted to go ahead and post this on the ABS website is because other parents might wonder about various causes of hand differences and might want to question their physician about this particular cause, if ABS doesn’t seem to fit.

After we arrived home from the hospital, we found an article on the internet that was very reassuring (and might be to you as well). It was written by Dr. Robert Warner in “The Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics. It states, “Histories of its occurrences in families, especially in siblings, have indeed been rare.” “…there is a strong hereditary aspect to congenital amputations if (a). they are multiple (several limbs involved), (b). they are accompanied by other anomalies, or (c) there are other systems involved. But it has been a fairly universal practice for those who give genetics counselling to families after the birth of a child with a single, below-elbow amputation to give them reassurance that this is probably nonhereditary and has only a very minimal (almost non-existant) chance of recurrence.”

We would love to hear from other parents with similar situations. Feel free to e-mail us anytime!!

Kevin, Crista, & Keenan