Doctor Connects with Patient to Ease Joint Pain

Before Rose Willard met
La Rabida’s Linda Wagner-Weiner, M.D., she didn’t fully understand the chronic condition that created so much pain in her eight-year-old daughter Kennedy’s joints.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis constricted Kennedy’s wrists and ankles, often creating too much pain for the second-grader to form a fist or take a step. After two years and little progress with another doctor, the Willards started seeing a team at La Rabida led by Wagner-Weiner.
Rose knew right away she had made the right choice with a team that embraced her daughter. “It was an automatic connection. They received my child as if she were one of their own,’’ said Rose, a third-grade teacher.
Today, with her RA under control, Kennedy uses custom orthotics that make walking easier. Occupational Therapist Susan Hill also works with Kennedy to improve her range of motion. “She can bend her wrists back and forward without pain and do things other kids do like jumping, dancing, bowling, and running,’’ Rose said.
Equally important in building good provider-patient relationships: every time Wagner-Weiner sees Kennedy, she gives her a hug.