2012/01/02 Update: A follow-up visit with Dr. Fowler at Cardinal Group’s Hilliard Office on Thursday 12/22 went well. The flexibility in his knee was considered good. The swelling in his ankle suggests that he’s not been diligent enough with the physical therapy exercises for that joint. X-Rays of his leg were taken and (along with the x-rays of his leg taken on 12/9) I’ve posted them in the Flickr photo set for the event.
In response to several requests, I’ve put this summary together describing the circumstances around Matt’s broken leg. A few people didn’t care for the pictures on the original Facebook post so I’ve not included any direct photos here – but be advised that all the links to Flickr come with an advisory.
Friday last week Becky and I both took vacation days to participate in Troy City School’s Health Fair (we both had blood work done). We planned on having a quiet day and getting ahead of house cleaning in anticipation of the Christmas season. At approximately 3:00 PM I received a phone call from the 614 area code on my cell phone. Because I do occasionally receive sales calls on my cell phone I let the call go to voicemail. Becky then received a call on her cell phone from the same number. I listened to her end of the conversation as she learned that Matt had been in an accident at work and had broken his leg. She indicated we would drive over to Columbus to be with him.
Matt was taken to Mt. Carmel West in Columbus rather than the closer Mt. Carmel East hospital due to the west facility being a level 1 trauma center. The company Matt works for (Lang Stone) is working with the facility’s head orthopedic trauma surgeon and the owner had his number. He agreed to treat Matt.
As we drove east on I-70, I spoke with several people including Lang Stone’s owner, a friend of Matt’s, the surgeon as well as Matt. Through all of these conversations, a basic understanding of the severity of the injury and circumstances that led to his injury became clear.
Matt’s official title at Lang Stone is that of Inside Sales. Lang Stone sells mostly with businesses, but they do sell to individuals. Matt is available at Lang Stone to help both individuals and companies find the product they want for their project. A husband and wife had come in on Friday and were interested in looking at samples. Matt was showing the couple different products in the company’s remnant yard. In the remnant yard, scraps of stone slabs are stacked teepee style. To see the face of a product stacked this way, the Lang Stone associates are expected to tilt the tiles out from the center of the stack to reveal samples farther into the center. The couple asked to see an example in the center of the stack. The practice is to tilt the stones away from the center against the associate’s leg. Unfortunately, on this occasion, Matt slipped, and the slabs he had tilted away from center fell out and on to his leg.
Both the Tibia and Fibula were broken and broke the surface of his skin. As Matt describes it, his ankle was at a right angle to his knee. Matt asked the customer’s he was with to get help and call 911. Other Lang Stone associates rushed out to Matt and were able to clear the stone off his leg. Two ambulances and a fire truck were called out to the facility. The paramedics reset the bones so that they were not exposed to air and tried to stop the bleeding so they could transport him to the hospital.
Matt was taken into the Operating Room on Friday evening at 6:30 (approximately). His surgeon, Dr. Ty Fowler, operated on him Friday evening from 7:30 to shortly after 10:00. Dr. Fowler came out around 11:00 and explained that he had successfully attached a titanium rod to the bones with two pins near the knee and two down at the ankle. Based on the scars, the original laceration formed a z shape on the interior of the calf. The doctor had to make an incision on the front face of the knee and another on the interior for the top pins. He only had to make one incision at the ankle for the two bottom pins. As Dr. Fowler explained it, the primary concerns in this kind of accident are ensuring the bones can mend adequately and preventing infections to both bone and blood. When bones are exposed to air their ability to heal is diminished and their likelihood to be infected are increased. Also, the energy imparted by the stone can damage the soft tissue which facilitates the mending process. Blood clotting is also a concern. Dr. Fowler wrote up a prescription for pain reliever and blood thinner.
Matt was released from the hospital on Sunday afternoon. We’ve brought his car and clothes back to the house and have set him up in the great room on a couch. He is not allowed to put weight on the leg for six to eight weeks. In two weeks from last week Thursday, Matt has an appointment with Dr. Fowler to evaluate Matt’s progress and determine what follow-up needs to occur.
It’s really too early to know what kind of complications may arise. The wounds have stopped seeping as of Wednesday this past week. The Percocet is definitely still a necessity. Matt tried taking only one tablet instead of two every four hours and was in considerable pain. He’s gone back to the prescribed two tablets every four hours. Hopefully, we’ll learn more next week when we are back in Dr. Fowler’s office.