Tackling Hip Dysplasia for More Than A Decade With Dan and Cara Whitney
Dan and Cara Whitney were beyond excited for the birth of their first child, Wyatt. They never expected the challenges they would face when Wyatt was diagnosed with hip dysplasia after being born in a breech position. At the time of his birth, the Whitneys knew nothing about the effects of hip dysplasia in babies and, like most, believed it only occurred in dogs.
To their surprise, Dan and Cara quickly found that not only is hip dysplasia very common, there was very little information available about it. Researching on their own, they realized how this condition could cause several problems for Wyatt as he grew. They were given little hope for Wyatt’s progress from their local physician, and the common nonsurgical treatment he was undergoing was not working. It was then they decided to seek a second opinion and found the care of orthopedic surgeon, Charles T. Price, MD.
Dr. Price refitted the harness which had originally failed Wyatt and, miraculously, it worked! Dan Whitney, a successful comedian professionally known as “Larry the Cable Guy,” often travels the world while on tour. He took Wyatt to see multiple orthopedic doctors while on the road to continue his care and to follow-up on the medical plan established by Dr. Price.
This unique perspective led to a breakthrough discovery –different physicians measured and treated hip dysplasia differently –and this variability leads to many children being undiagnosed. These children become young adults who never fully heal, often needing full hip replacements due to severe pain and inability to walk.
Through a multi-million-dollar donation from the Whitneys, the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children was created in 2008. The IHDI has since taken the lead in creating a consensus on treatment and prevention in the medical community, serving as a free public resource to parents and clinicians alike, and providing global outreach to countries with the highest rates of hip dysplasia.
Since their initial gift, the Whitneys have continued to support IHDI. Thanks to their philanthropic leadership, along with support from advocates spanning seven countries across the globe and experienced guidance from Dr. Price, IHDI has made tremendous progress in offering hope to people faced with this potentially crippling condition.
Since 2008, IHDI Has Celebrated the Following Top 10 Accomplishments:
- Formed the IHDI –a coordinated think-tank comprised of established hip dysplasia experts from around the world who are focused on hip dysplasia innovation.
- Established multi-center collaborative research across five countries.
- Created a public resource for patients, parents and physicians to find reliable and comprehensive information about hip dysplasia.
- Created a “Hip-Healthy Baby Carrier Policy Statement” that has influenced the baby carrier industry on a global scale.
- Published a “Safe-Swaddling Initiative” that has been acknowledged and adopted by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Addressed the lack of agreement amongst doctors about how to properly treat hip dysplasia by developing a reliable classification system–now internationally recognized as the IHDI Classification that allows for meaningful comparisons –as well as creating a multicenter database for treatment variations and outcomes to identify best practices.
- Addressed the lack of standardized education models for diagnosis and treatment of developmental dysplasia of the hip.
- Conducted research on the most reliable steps for prevention.
- Expanded outreach to countries where hip dysplasia is an epidemic by providing information in more than 50 different languages.
- Regularly send hip dysplasia “teaching boxes” all over the world, most often in Central and South