When security contractor Tom Eastman tripped and fell at a job site last June, the resulting hip fracture led him to seek help at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, where surgeons not only fixed his hip but also repaired a 50-year-old knee injury.
The 76-year-old Kennedale business owner, whose physically demanding job involves climbing ladders and lugging around equipment, says he’s immensely grateful for the care he received at the hospital. He’s walking straight and standing tall for the first time in years, and has even returned to the golf course.
“Being there was just a godsend of caring and compassionate people,” Tom says. “The doctors were brilliant, and the nurses were wonderful and available all the time. Never at any time did I feel I didn’t have access to someone if I needed them.”
A TRICKY SITUATION
When Tom fractured his hip, it was his son who thought to call Shane Seroyer, MD, orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield. Dr. Seroyer had helped Tom with a shoulder injury eight years earlier.
“Get him to Methodist Mansfield, and we’ll take care of him,” Dr. Seroyer told Tom’s son.
At the hospital, Tom was examined by Brigham Au, MD, orthopedic trauma surgeon on the medical staff.
“When I saw his situation, I knew we had to get him a spot in the operating room as soon as possible,” Dr. Au says. “Fractured hips can cause a lot of other problems if we don’t act on them within 24 hours.”
But Tom’s situation was trickier than most. Tom’s broken hip was complicated by a misaligned knee, the result of an injury he suffered 50 years ago while serving in the military. Over five decades, it had turned his foot outward and made his gait bowlegged.
“When you do hip surgery,” Dr. Seroyer explains, “you have to account for the length of the leg. In Tom’s situation, one side was a centimeter and a half shorter. Dr. Au had to estimate the leg length, knowing it wasn’t the true length because his knee was so misaligned.”
The team at Methodist Mansfield knows patients like Tom need a more coordinated approach to treatment, so Drs. Seroyer and Au worked together to come up with a plan.
“Caring for patients with such injuries is a choreographed effort,” Dr. Au says. “It’s like directing a band. So many people are doing so many things at once to get the right outcome.”
They fixed Tom’s hip first because it was the more urgent problem. Tom had surgery in the morning and left the hospital the same afternoon.
“Everything went smoothly,” Dr. Au says. “He did great.”
Tom needed a few months of physical therapy to recover from his hip operation and rebuild his strength and muscles for his knee surgery. Waiting for the second procedure was a little nerve-wracking, Tom says, but it was a relief when it went even better than he expected.
“Before surgery, my foot was flaring out 15 degrees,” he says. “Dr. Seroyer said, ‘If I can get that to 2 degrees, I’ll be doing well.’ He turned my knee back to zero degrees.”
STANDING TALL AGAIN
His surgeons credit the collaborative culture at Methodist Mansfield for such an outstanding result.
“We work seamlessly together. The team approach helps patients get the best outcome,” Dr. Au says.
As for Tom, he’s now able to walk in a straight line and stand up straight — things he struggled to do previously — and feels better emotionally.
“I can hardly express how much I appreciated everyone’s care and concern,” he says of his stay at Methodist Mansfield. “Every time someone came into my room, they’d write their names on the board and things like, ‘I’m so glad to meet you.’ That made it so much more personal.”
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