“Somehow, my arm was just pulled into the wood splitter…”
Betty came to Axes Physical Therapy after almost losing her arm in an accident at her home. On April 14th, Betty and her husband of 28 years were splitting wood in their yard together. Betty said that what happened next happened so fast she cannot even fully recall the sequence of events. Somehow, the sleeve of her coat was actually pulled INTO the wood splitter. Her right forearm was crushed on both sides (photos below.) Her injuries required trauma surgery at Washington University in St. Louis to fix both her radius and ulna. Betty’s injuries were considered to be “open” with bone and tissues exposed to the dirt and dust in the log splitter. She then had to be hospitalized for 6 days with antibiotics to fight infection.
2 weeks later, Betty arrived at Axes in Farmington, MO to begin her recovery process. There were active infections present in both her right arm that was injured, as well as her left wrist from a problem with her IV from the hospital. Betty had difficulty using both her right (dominant) and injured arm, and her left hand due to swelling, pain and infection.
Although she is in the early stages of physical therapy due to the severity of her injuries, her left hand and wrist have made a FULL recovery. We started slow, as her pain post-surgery was significant at times. Without proper physical therapy, injuries such as this can be devastating to a patient’s quality of life. In spite of the incident, she has made terrific progress with her right arm! Betty was able to use a pen to write her name as early as the last week of May and can now dress herself. She is eager to resume her normal activities including working in Farmington at the kindergarten assisting students, teachers, and staff.
We are so proud of Betty and the progress she has made. Keep up the hard work, Betty!
About the Author: Jennifer Hoffman, OTR/L, CHT graduated as an occupational therapist in 1998 from the University of Missouri. Since receiving the highly prestigious certification as a hand therapist (CHT) in 2005, Jennifer has been managing upper extremity injuries, surgeries and conditions exclusively in a variety of outpatient settings, earning the trust of many top orthopedic and plastic surgeons in the area. She is known in the area as a caring and compassionate therapist.