A faster recovery means more spring fun
Ben Doyle, 43, unfortunately lived the adage "no good deed goes unpunished" one spring day as he pressure washed his parents' house. Working on a ladder, Ben fell when the extension slid out, and his hand cushioned his crash to the ground.
"I knew I had to get to the ER right away," Ben says. "I thought about the fact that it was spring, when I love to play golf and wakeboard, and wondered about what I'd be able to do."
At Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, team members placed his hand in a temporary, fiberglass splint and made an appointment for him with Dr. Hassan Shah, an orthopedic surgeon with Sentara Hand Surgery Specialists.
In less than 24 hours, Ben met with Dr. Shah and learned he had broken his distal radius and ulnar styloid. Dr. Shah's staff quickly scheduled an outpatient surgery at the ambulatory center at Sentara Leigh Hospital.
"In simple terms, what I did was made an incision on Mr. Doyle's forearm, dissected down to his broken bone, realigned his wrist back in an anatomically 'normal' position and put a plate and screw construct in his wrist to allow his fracture to heal in the proper position," explains Dr. Shah. "Mr. Doyle was able to remove his splint two weeks after the operation and start therapy. With the plate and screw construct, I obtained excellent fixation for his fracture to allow early mobilization and healing."
"Some patients are in a cast for six weeks after surgery," says Ben. "I was amazed that I was only in a splint for two weeks."
Once he took off the splint, Ben was able to move his hand immediately and attend physical therapy sessions. Six weeks after surgery, he had gained back 80 percent of his mobility.
"That's when I started easing back into activities," he says. "I did yard work, went out on our boat and played a little golf, beginning with five holes. I got to swim in Linkhorn Bay with my children and step-children, too."
He could also return to using both hands while typing on the computer at his job as an area manager for Verizon.
Ben praises Dr. Shah and his staff for helping him every step through his recovery.
"I describe Dr. Shah as progressive with the treatments he recommends," he says, "but I also say he's 'old school' because he cares and communicates so well. He was readily accessible to answer questions. I could even text him."
Dr. Shah says he strives to treat all of his patients this way.
"My personal philosophy, as well as all of my partners' philosophy, is to always be available to our patients," he says. "I find that when people go through surgery, questions arise as the process unfolds, and they aren't able to think of everything in our meetings before surgery. I want them to know that day or night, they will have someone who can be there for them that knows what they are going through."