Children who grow up with untreated physical deformities often find themselves faced with social discrimination, an inability to keep up physically, and little access to education. One study treated adults who had been born with cleft lip or palate in developing countries. Little access to medical care was possible which limited the treatments available as children and now as adults. Dr. Murthy and his team looked not only at the treatment of the condition but at the psychological effects of the treatment. These adults had speech that was severely affected by their condition. This, combined with their looks meant that the patients had often dropped out of school as children and spent their lives being teased for their looks. Most had felt these effects so long that they had begun to tolerate the teasing (Murthy 1). These effects are not unusual when it comes to untreated deformities.
Clubfoot, also common, is often left untreated in developing countries because families are unable or afraid to seek treatment for the conditions that affect the children. Even when they can afford the treatments they may be time or labor intensive for the families which can hinder treatment in poor families that must work many hours. A condition may also require months or years of continued treatment and money which can be difficult to acquire in distant towns or villages or in areas where therapies are very expensive and largely unavailable to people who cannot afford to pay steep private costs.
Before treatments were known, children who were born with these issues lived with them for their entire lives. In cases such as cleft lip and palate, which effects the abilities of children to breastfeed, children with this condition were left with no food source as bottles and formula were not yet available. Others who were born with conditions such as clubfoot were unable to work normally. Some were able to walk with a limp because they only had one effected foot but children born with two effected feet either walked on the tops and sides of their feet or crawled on their knees. The well known British Poet Lord George Byron was born with one clubfoot and was known to rather sensitive about it as a result of his unusual gait (“Lord George Gordon Byron” 1).