If the average person suffered frostbite in a work-related accident and subsequently had to undergo a below-the-knee amputation, I’m guessing they would be less than enthusiastic about going back to work. Premier Prosthetic Center patient David Hay, however, is not the average person.
When I first met with Hay, one of the main things he talked about was going back to work. The 45-year-old was very adamant that he not only wanted to go back to work, but that he needed a prosthesis that would allow him to keep up with the rigors of being a heavy equipment operator.
Hay’s surgeon and I worked together to determine the appropriate amputation level based on the patient’s condition and his strong desire to resume work.
After surgery, I put Hay on a rehab program. In Hay’s words, “Zach started a rehab program for me the first day he met me. He told me that when my leg was built I would be walking out of the office the first day. He didn’t lie.”
After he had time to heal, Hay came to see me for an evaluation. One appointment later, I was able to cast and fit him in the same day. He came to the office using a walker and left carrying the walker over his shoulder. It was a beautiful sight to see.
I fit Hay with a custom urethane liner with sub-atmospheric suspension, which helps eliminate skin irritations, abrasions, blisters or callus formation. This vacuum componentry also maximizes proprioception (awareness of the position of one’s body) and reduces stress on joints.
We are now coordinating Hay’s rehabilitation with a physical therapist and are pleased to see that he is well on his way to getting back to a normal lifestyle. Hay’s focus is on rehabbing the prosthesis and using it to his maximum ability. He says that he doesn’t have to pattern his life around the daily struggles with a prosthesis due to pain in his is residual limb and that he’s excited to get back to work.
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