Published: Oct. 26, 2010
Updated: Oct. 26, 2010
My son Chase was injured in September 2009 playing football for his school, Lincoln Christian. He was quarterback of our 8th grade team and was running a sprint-out when he was tackled from behind and his left knee planted into the turf.
The force of the tackler coming over his back caused his left hip to dislocate.
Chase apparently had a fracture along his growth plate that was missed by the radiologist and ER physician at our local hospital, so when they attempted a closed reduction, they opened up the fracture. Chase was able to have surgery at Saint Francis Hospital the next day.
Chase progressed well and an MRI at the end of December looked good, so he was allowed to start putting weight on the leg and eventually walk without crutches although he had some pain and popping. A second MRI done in early March showed he was developing avascular necrosis (AVN).
Though we were originally referred to Shriners in St. Louis, we waited almost two months after our appointment to find they could not offer what we felt to be a viable option. After that, I decided that I needed to become more aggressive in finding care for Chase.
I sent an e-mail to Dr. Urbaniak asking if a 14-year-old was a candidate for free vascularized fibular graft (FVFG). He responded the next day that the best results have been in adolescents.
He told me that he had retired from clinical practice and Dr. David Ruch was now performing and following the FVFG procedures, and, if I sent Chase's MRI and x-rays, they would evaluate them.
I mailed them on a Thursday and had a phone call from Kerri with Dr. Ruch's office on the following Tuesday saying that Chase was a good candidate.
I called Kerri that week and scheduled Chase in the first opening with Dr. Ruch. We were in Durham for a total of eight days. We flew in from Tulsa on a Tuesday, saw Dr. Ruch and had pre-op on Wednesday (along with attending a Bulls game), and had surgery Thursday. Chase was discharged the following Monday, and we flew home Tuesday.
While in Durham, we had an unexpected encounter with an orthopaedic resident, William Mook, MD.
My wife, Julie, and I left the hospital for a couple hours of new scenery on Sunday. We toured Duke’s campus, and as we were leaving leaving Cameron Indoor Stadium, we saw the baseball field and stopped to take a couple of pictures since my son is an avid baseball player.
My wife walked down to get a closer picture and missed a concrete step, tripped and fell to the ground landing on her left arm and the left side of her head. When she returned to the car she had a knot the diameter of a soft ball on her head and her forearm was very sore -- so off to the ER.
The ER doctor called in orthopaedics and Dr. Mook was called to deliver care. He was helpful and great with both Chase and Julie.
I will admit it was quite scary as a parent loading the family on a plane, flying halfway across the country to meet a guy one day, whom you have only seen a bio and picture on the internet, and then let him perform major surgery on your son the next day, but we were pleased with our experience.
Dr. Ruch was great in the office. He directed most of his conversation to Chase and spoke on a level that he could understand.
All of the nurses on the floor were very comforting and exuded excellent patient care. Everyone was quite attentive.
One moment that particularly impressed me was the night before discharge. The nurse we had was concerned about redness and warmth around the surgical site. The fact that Chase was running a slight fever had her more than concerned.
She noticed this around midnight and within 15 or 20 minutes, she had one of the surgical residents examining Chase. The resident determined that it appeared to be more of a reaction to the tape from the original surgical dressing, but the fact that he was there within 15 or 20 minutes was tremendous.
Candi was our night nurse for the majority of our visit and she was great -- she got us through the two worst parts. Karla was our day nurse most of the time and she was also helpful and attentive. Everyone on the pediatrics floor was very accommodating and great to work with.
Additionally, we needed a wheelchair on discharge to get from the car to the hotel room and from the hotel to the car in order to go to the airport. Our case manager and physical therapists were able to arrange for us to have a wheelchair at no cost.
I know one day of wheelchair rental is a small thing, but, at that time, it was bigger than anyone might realize.
Also, the Ronald McDonald Room was a nice oasis. My wife and I really only used it to shower in the mornings, but it was so refreshing to have plenty of room to stretch and get ready without having to worry about disturbing Chase if he was sleeping. The volunteers that staffed the room were very welcoming.
We look forward to our follow-up visit to Durham next summer. We continually pray for the long-term success of the procedure and hope to see Chase pitch for Duke one day!