IT’S IN THE EYES: GP’s warning to parents
THE director of medical services at Gladstone Hospital has warned new parents to be on the lookout for signs of an incurable bone disease.
Dr Dilip Kumar's warning came when Janette and Matthew Reid contacted The Observer about their children Riley and Tiarna, aged six and three, who were born with the disease.
"Nine times out of 10, if they have a fall or collision their bones, normally their limbs, are so brittle they will fracture," Mrs Reid said.
The genetic disease has forced Riley to wear casts for the past three years and the family is waiting on results of a bone biopsy done last June.
"Technically there is no name for it," she said,
"We did not figure out he had brittle bones until he turned four after he suffered a couple of breaks around two years old.
"We kept asking the doctors who said if there was anything wrong with his bones it would show up on an X-ray.
"It wasn't until we moved to Darwin that we got clarity on Riley's condition."
When Tiarna broke her leg at nine months old, tests showed she had the same condition.
After receiving some demeaning comments about her children at local healthcare precincts, Ms Reid said she and her husband Matthew were made to feel like bad parents.
"We get some looks at times from people when we are at the shopping centre or at the hospital, we tend to get people staring at Matthew and I as if we mistreat our children. Obviously we don't," she said.
Dr Kumar said although the disease has no cure, early detection was key to quality of life.
"Unfortunately the disease is usually detected after picking up a first fracture, but certain kids who suffer from the disease possess what is called a blue sclera," he said.
"The sclera is the white outer layer of the eyeball and kids with the disease will display a tinge of blue in the sclera from their first year of life."
Mr Reid said he could not speak highly enough of his wife, who takes care of Tiarna full-time and Riley when he is not attending school.
"She is a supermum in my eyes, she never takes time out for herself and I just want her to know how awesome she is," Mr Reid said.
"What she goes through daily is unbelievable, unless you are there to see it you have no idea how stressful her job is to care for them."