In May of 2019, Judy was crossing the street when a driver did not stop at the stop sign. Judy was hit by the car and suffered multiple injuries. Paramedics arrived and took her to Lutheran General Hospital as it was the closest trauma hospital.
Judy had sustained multiple broken bones and soft tissue injuries, including injury to her rotator cuff and damage to ligaments in her right knee. “A month after the accident, I found out that the first responders who treated and transported me didn’t think I would survive with all the breaks. There were about a dozen broken bones or so.”
At the time of the accident, Judy said that she was worried for her family. “I was worried about my family and how they would react to what happened. But there was some part of me that had a feeling that I was going to be okay.”
Judy was relieved to hear that all the injuries were orthopedic in nature. “I said ‘Okay let’s put them all back together.’ I was very fortunate that I didn’t lose consciousness, have a head injury, or injury to my internal organs.”
IBJI’s Charles Lieder, DO and Brian Weatherford, MD saw Judy in the emergency room. They spoke with her family and answered all of their questions. Throughout the course of six days after the accident, Judy had three separate surgeries. Dr. Lieder and Dr. Weatherford teamed up on the first day of surgery for her lower left leg and ankle. The second day in the operating room, Dr. Lieder took care of Judy’s left shoulder and humerus, and her pelvic and sacral fractures. Finally, on the third day of surgery, Dr. Lieder fixed both of her knee fractures and treated her right lower leg tissue injury.
“They worked well together, I was fortunate that they were the trauma doctors taking care of me,” said Judy.
After surgery, Judy spent most of her hospital stay in the intensive care unit. She was moved to the orthopedic floor the last few days of her stay during which physical therapists came in to help her sit up in bed.
Judy had a sling for her left arm and shoulder, a brace on her right leg, a boot on her left ankle, and other bandages which made movement difficult. Once out of the hospital, Judy was transferred to an inpatient physical therapy facility for seven weeks, from there she was able to go home and continue with five months of outpatient physical therapy at IBJI’s Schaumburg location.
During Judy’s recovery at home she required help from her family members. “I was able to walk with a walker. At this point I didn’t need the boot on my left foot and ankle anymore, but I still had the brace on my right leg. My sister-in-law came in from Virginia and stayed for a week to help out. I needed help to shower and to go up and down the stairs.”
Judy says that physical therapy was very helpful for her. “As a retired nurse, my first four years I worked in orthopedics so I remembered the basics of orthopedics. I knew how important it was to get moving to avoid complications. I was also determined. I felt I was given a second chance. I survived this and I wasn’t going to waste the work the doctors did.”
While physical therapy was helping, Judy explained she has some apprehension to an exercise she would need to do. This exercise involved her standing on one leg. “Dr. Lieder told me I could start bearing weight on my leg, I had to work on being able to stand up on one leg. The first leg I could bear weight on was the left leg. It was difficult to do with my right leg as I was still in the full length brace and my left arm was in a sling.”
Since being discharged from physical therapy, Judy has continued her home exercise program assigned by IBJI therapists Alyssa Bolhous, PT, DPT, COMT and Miriam Negru, PTA. She knows that as long as she keeps moving, that things will continue to improve.
Judy’s bones have healed and the hardware is in place. She is back to activity and working on walking outside. “I’m slower than I used to be. I haven’t gotten to the speed I was at before the accident. They told me upfront that it may take a year and a half for healing and that I may not get the full range of motion back in my shoulder.”
As of now, Judy still has some swelling but Dr. Lieder is very pleased with the progress she has made and encouraged her to keep doing what she’s doing.
“I can’t say enough about the [physical] therapists, doctors, and overall good encounters I’ve had at IBJI. With Dr. Lieder leading everyone with the care he gave, he was always there answering questions and made my family feel at ease. [Dr. Lieder and Dr. Weatherford] did a phenomenal job in putting me back together. I’m appreciative of all the help I’ve had. I was a patient of IBJI before this accident at the Arlington Heights office. Staff has always been very helpful. I’m very grateful that this unfortunate experience led me to IBJI and the care I received from them. I think it was a big factor in my outcome."
Charles Lieder, DO, is an orthopedic surgeon, fellowship trained in trauma, specializing in complex orthopedic fracture care and adult joint reconstruction.