Thanks to Early Detection at Well-Child Visit, Grace Stanford is Back on the Softball Field After Spine Surgery

Regular Check-Ups for Kids May Catch What Parents Miss

Aug 15, 2013, 11:21 ET from Kaiser Permanente

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- When kids are active and physically healthy, it's easy for parents to put off regular check-ups with their pediatrician.  It's important to make and keep these appointments because they include routine exams that can identify health conditions that are easily overlooked. 


Thirteen-year-old Grace Stanford began playing softball when she was just four years old, and her passion for the sport led to an active lifestyle. When it came to her check-ups at Kaiser Permanente, her mother, Lisa, made the appointments more out of habit than out of necessity.

When Grace was 10 years old, her family was shocked when her Kaiser Permanente pediatrician Brian McCreery, MD, noticed a curve in her spine during a routine scoliosis screening. She was then referred to Ravinder Bains, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, who calculated a 30-degree curve in her spine.

"They were totally asymmetrical," remembered her mother. "Her shoulders—one was higher than the other."

Under the guidance of Dr. Bains, Grace began to wear a back brace to stall any further curving in her spine.  When her condition continued to worsen, Dr. Bains recommended surgery.

At the end of the procedure, Grace's back was straight. Within a few months' time, she started school like any of her classmates.  "She was running like the other kids and doing every other activity that they were doing," Lisa remembered. "It was like she never had scoliosis."

Had it not been for Grace's regular check-up, her scoliosis might not have been detected until years later, when her school district performed screenings at age 12. By then, Grace's back would have required a much more difficult and intensive surgery.

Regular check ups are an important part of a child's growth and development. "I strongly encourage regular check-ups to provide preventive care and for the early diagnosis and treatment of any medical problems," said Dr. McCreery.

Grace's story is startling, but not uncommon. There are many conditions that can be easily overlooked by parents and family members. Many conditions—like scoliosis—often worsen the longer they go untreated.

To watch Grace's story and learn more about the benefits of regular check-ups for kids, visit Kaiser Permanente Care Stories at

Launched in July 2011, Care Stories is a collection of first-person video narratives from Kaiser Permanente members talking about their own care in their own words, unscripted and uncompensated. 

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9.1 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to:

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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente