School nurse goes above and beyond to get child prosthetic limb

February 23, 2017 06:08 PM

School nurses are often the first to diagnose a child with strep throat, lice or even vision problems. However, in a district that's taken in 400 non-English speaking students since July, many of them refugees, school nurses are also often the first health care provider these children have seen in months if not years.

By December, an Albany school nurse already had a child in her office with shrapnel in his head and another who was missing a limb. Both were from war torn countries and she facilitated care they desperately needed.

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Esaq Muhammad Ismail is just like any other sixth grader, but it wasn't until just last month that the 13-year-old could properly tie his shoes.

"Little bit difficult before, now it's real easy," he noted.

Esaq was born without his lower, left arm.  A prosthetic wasn't an option in Afghanistan, where he was born, or in Pakistan where his family moved two years ago in search of a better life.

"In our country, there are not good doctors. Everything is not good there," explained Ismaih Durdi, Esaq’s father.

Esaq, his parents and five siblings ultimately immigrated to Albany. This past fall, Esaq started sixth grade at North Albany Academy. 

The outgoing, bright and polite student introduced himself to Lenore Palladino the first week of school, not knowing then how the public school nurse would change his life.

"A child is a child and when they're in need, they're in need," noted Palladino.

Three weeks after first meeting Esaq, Nurse Palladino arranged for an orthopedic consultation at the Shriners Hospital in Springfield. She also coordinated the transportation and translators for that appointment and two more visits. After the last one, Esaq returned to Albany and school, with a prosthetic.

"I'm really, really happy," exclaimed dad. "Thank you for nurse, thank you for this school, thank you for doctors they help us."

Everything associated with the prosthetic from Shriners was provided to Esaq free of charge.

"It warms my heart tremendously the success story, like this lad, is what we're about," pointed out Tony Prizzia, a Shriner’s volunteer.

The transition to two hands has been seamless. Esaq, who has always been a strong student, is now even more confident.

"Just like other kids, I can do everything now," he exclaimed.

Seeing Esaq thrive is the only thanks Nurse Palladino needs.

"It's really, really gratifying for me to know we made a difference in this boy's life," she acknowledged.

A life that, as of now, involves a career dedicated to medicine -- just like North Albany's Nurse Palladino.

"To help people, to help patients to be good healthy persons," Esaq smiled.

Esaq is one of 400 non-English speaking students who have moved to the Albany City School District since July.


Abigail Bleck

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