Patient Walks into her Fifty Year Class Reunion

Claire Rawlings hadn’t walked for five years, then she saw Dr. Erroll Bailey

Claire's story was recently featured on Fox 5 Atlanta. To view her story please click here.

Claire Rawlings, 68, had an abdominal surgical procedure that so many others have had, and was given a common post-operation pain drug. But instead of a quick, seamless recovery, Rawlings had a very rare reaction to the drug that left her with a debilitating condition. 

Rawlings had focal dystonia, a neurological condition that affects muscles in a specific part of the body, causing involuntary muscular contractions and abnormal postures.  

Her left foot quickly turned 90 degrees inward. She was no longer able to walk, and wouldn’t do so for five years. 

Along the way she sought out several physicians and was repeatedly told there was nothing they could do to help her. She eventually made her way to Dr. Erroll Bailey and he felt he could help her and at least give her the chance to walk again. 

“Ms. Rawlings had seen several specialists for this problem. The other physicians told her that there was nothing to be done. When I evaluated her, I felt that I could make her much better — not perfect — but much better and give her the opportunity to walk. She softened my heart and I wanted to do anything I could to make her better,” said Dr. Bailey. 

“It was exciting to see Dr. Bailey excited. He just really cared."

After an intensive, three-hour surgery — lengthening her Achilles tendon, transferring her anterior Tibialis tendon, releasing all of the contracted medial soft ankle tissue, lengthening multiple tendons on her medial ankle, and cutting her heel bone and repositioning it to a lateral position — he had succeeded. 

Dr. Bailey said it was one of the hardest surgeries he’d ever done, and also one of the most rewarding. Seeing her walk for the first time post-surgery brought a flood of emotions. 

“When I saw her walk, it really felt good. I was so happy for her. That feeling is why I went into medicine,” said Dr. Bailey. 

Rawlings is doing wonderfully, and still undergoes physical therapy a few times a week. 

She can’t say enough good things about Dr. Bailey and the Resurgens staff. “It was a wonderful experience for me. After the surgery I was just ecstatic; I just could not believe that my foot was straight,” Rawlings exclaimed. “It was exciting to see Dr. Bailey excited. He just really cared. He’s an exceptional man and I could truly tell he really wanted to do everything he could for me.” 

And because of her successful surgery, she was able to keep a very important commitment — attending, and walking into, her 50th high school reunion at Fitzgerald High School.

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