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Focus: Muscles and the Brain

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Patient Update

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Thirty-six-year old Gilbert Loeppky is the driver of a delivery truck that was involved in a motor vehicle accident 3 full weeks ago. His injuries led him to Okla Trauma Center (see Chapters 4 and 10). He was in the hospital for the injuries that he sustained: a spiral fracture of the right hip, a pilon fracture to the distal portion of his right tibia, an acute patellar injury to the right knee, and a moderate concussion.

During our last encounter with this patient, he was recovering postoperatively from an acute subdural hematoma, the result of a fall from his hospital bed (see Chapter 10). Subsequent to that, he emerged from his medically induced coma with very minimal neurological and motor deficits. This meant that within days, he was able to have the necessary orthopedic surgery to reduce his right hip fracture. In addition, an anteromedial joint arthrotomy was successfully performed, thus reducing and repairing the pilon fracture.

Gil spent a total of 10 days at Okla Trauma Center. After he stabilized, he was transferred to an orthopedic floor at Fayette General Hospital for ongoing care and recovery. He has now been there for 11 days. He continues to recover and has begun physical therapy for his fractures and for the acute patellar injury to his right knee. Gil has now spent a total of 3 weeks in two hospitals.

 

"Hi, Tamron, how are things going in the physical therapy department today?" greeted Scott Kanesewah, one of the registered nurses on the orthopedic unit. Tamron Epp, a physical therapist, smiled as she walked into the small consulting room behind the unit's nursing station.

"We're very busy, but I like it that way," she replied. Tamron pulled up a chair at the small table where Scott sat with a small writing pad and a pen in hand. They began to talk about their mutual patient, Gil Loeppky. Their meeting was arranged to provide a progress report from both perspectives and to collaborate on the next steps in Gil's recovery and rehabilitation. They were holistic in their approach, understanding the importance that the mind-body connection played in a patient's resiliency.

"He's generally quite friendly, and his mood is good. However, I wonder if he's really as optimistic as he says he is," commented Scott. He then provided an explanation, noting that Gil knew he would not be able to return to work as a delivery truck driver for at least another 6 months. Scott pointed out that although Gil had sufficient medical coverage for his inpatient stay, as well as for some follow-up physical therapy and rehabilitation, he had not been alone in the car accident that brought him to this crisis in his life. They discussed the financial implications of Gil's wife having been hospitalized and the birth of their baby, who remains in neonatal care at Fayette General. Scott shared that he knew ...

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