A Lucky Break
Sue Ottman Grateful for Superb Care After Vacation Injury
By Denise Maloof
Sometimes bad breaks morph into good breaks.
Sue Ottman can vouch for the latter, after a nasty fall at a friend's house in Palm Coast netted her two right-ankle surgeries at Florida Hospital Flagler. The same accident also earned her an extended Florida vacation and extra time with some of her best buddies. But, it also earned her admiration for Florida Hospital Flagler.
"I was so lucky that if it was going to happen, that it happened there." said Ottman, a Red Wing, Minnesota resident, of her accident location.
In Palm Coast on an annual trip with girlfriends, Ottman was descending stairs at her friend Nita's house on March 9, 2017. The group was departing for an 11:30 a.m., excursion, and Ottman crossed a landing that led to the final two stairs. Momentarily distracted -- she thinks she glanced at one of her friends as she reached those final steps -- she slipped and went down hard.
"After I was able to sit up, my foot was laying to the right and I lifted it, and my foot fell over to the left and I thought, 'ooh, that's not good.'" Ottman said. It wasn't. Her friends helped her into Nita's husband's office chair and rolled her to a car. Their 11:30 excursion detoured to Florida Hospital Flagler, where Ottman was diagnosed with severe ankle fracture dislocation.
She found herself in the care of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Corey S. Rosenbaum, who specializes in trauma and foot and ankle reconstruction. Dr. Rosenbaum performed the first surgery the next morning -- placing an external fixator on Ottman's right ankle. Ten days later once the swelling subsided, he performed the reconstruction surgery, which involved placing multiple plates and screws.
"He told me that I really gave him a challenge," Ottman said. "It was so bad."
Her initial recovery grounded her in Florida for a month. She transferred to Nita's sister Coreen's house (fewer stairs), and the girlfriend gang hung out together. Even for regular appointments at Dr. Rosenbaum's office. "All the girls kind of had a crush on him, he was so cute and nice." Ottman said, chuckling. "So when I would go to the doctor, all six of us would go to the doctor."
Once Dr. Rosenbaum cleared her to fly home to Minnesota, he asked her to email him occasional updates on her progress. Her recuperation wasn't over -- Ottman remembered it was three months before she began walking -- but neither was her gratitude for her surgeons. "I was so impressed with him and my orthopedic doctors here in Minnesota were too." said Ottman, a certified medical coding specialist, who retired four years ago. Her regular doctor also gave a thumbs-up to Dr. Rosenbaum's work. He said, "Sue, whoever did this really knew what they were doing." Ottman said.
In April 2018, the girlfriends reunited at Nita's house for their annual trip (Nita put black tape on the offending steps as a warning). Ottman who knows how important it was to receive excellent care at a critical time, also dropped by to visit Dr. Rosenbaum.
Trama Feature — C Dusenbery
Tom Trama Wears His Shoulder Surgery Proudly
After a lifetime working in construction, Tom Trama’s shoulders could no longer carry the load. At age 69, he found he could no longer lift his arms to do simple things like wash his hair, or put on a jacket or a shirt. After undergoing total shoulder joint replacement surgery on both shoulders at Florida Hospital Flagler in 2015, Trama is so happy with the results that he wears them —literally. He had a T-shirt made that features the x-rays of his new shoulders.
“I am retired, but I still belong to the local union,” Trama said. “Construction was all I did and you could say it was a heck of a lot of fun. But, that is also what led to the problem. The constant activity, wear and tear.”
A resident of Palm Coast, Florida, Trama was referred to David Gay, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Florida Hospital Flagler who specializes in disorders of the shoulder, elbow and wrist.
While Dr. Gay prescribed a conservative treatment plan that included cortisone shots in the early going, shoulder joint replacement surgery on the left side was the ultimate answer. Once the date was set for April, Trama and his wife went through education that covered what would happen and what he needed to do from pre-surgery to post-operative rehabilitation.
“They were just great,” Trama said of the staff at Florida Hospital Flagler. “It worked out to where I had very little discomfort in that shoulder. It just seems like the pain level disbursed pretty quickly. Now, I have my range of motion back.”
He returned that September to have the same procedure on the right shoulder. It was looking at the x-rays of his new shoulders in one of the follow-up appointments that gave Trama the idea for a T-shirt.
“I worked with a local T-shirt printer and got them made,” Trama said. “I liked it so much I had one made for Dr. Gay and one for another staff member who worked with us.”
Dr. Gay is part of Florida Hospital Flagler’s Orthopedic & Sports Medicine team that recently received the Gold Seal of Approval® by the Joint Commission as a Total Shoulder Replacement Center of Excellence. It is one of only four hospitals in the state to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for shoulder replacements.
“The certification means that, even prior to surgery, Florida Hospital Flagler has taken the time and effort to provide top-quality care when it comes to doing shoulder replacement,” Dr. Gay said. “It means they have invested in the resources so that the care for shoulder replacement here can be as good as it can be.
To achieve this recognition, the Orthopedic & Sports Medicine team underwent a rigorous on-site review in April 2016. From there, the team learned how to adapt procedures to reflect the best practices in order to provide the best possible evidence-based care for patients. Meeting the overall goal required collaboration from a multidisciplinary team, engaged orthopedic surgeons and a dedicated administration.
The achievement is not lost on Trama.
“Dr. Gay did everything he was supposed to do,” he said. “I was pretty, we can say, lucky, or he knew what he was doing and I healed right. Or both. I just brought him in the shoulders and let him do what he needed to do.”
And, Trama proudly wears the results — literally, and on his T-shirt.