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Thread: C-5 fracture and arm amputation

  1. #1

    C-5 fracture and arm amputation

    On april 14, 2008 my daughter was injured while working as an EMT in an ambulance accident. She has a fractured vertebra at C-5, is now fused from C3-C7. She also lost her right arm almost to the shoulder. I was wondering if there is anyone else dealing with 2 major injuries and maybe some advice on helping her to deal with it all.

  2. #2
    So sorry for your daughter and that this should have happened when she was helping others!

    Does she have a spinal cord injury as well as the spinal fracture? Not everyone who has a fracture has damage to the cord. If so, what is the spinal cord level and ASIA category?

    Is she getting or has she had a formal rehab program? Is she covered by worker's comp and does she have a decent case manager?

    I have one client who had a C6 ASIA A SCI and then a couple years later had an amputation of his left arm above the elbow (from another car accident). It was hard work, but he is now married, as two beautiful children, played quad rugby (even after his amputation) for a while, caths himself, and is nearly independent in his self care. It is not easy, but it can be done. If your daughter has a similar SCI, send me a PM and I will pass on her contact information to him to see if he can offer some tips and support.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    yes she has an sci as well. the asia has her at c4 A...she is in rehab at Kessler since 5/8..everything is being covered by worker's comp and she has a case manager at Kessler as well as a nurse from comp overseeing her care

  4. #4
    That sounds horrible! I'm so sorry this is happening to her. I'm a C-5 injury myself and it's hard enough to be lacking function in my arms, I couldn't imagine trying to get through this while missing one. Especially getting injured doing such a selfless job like she does. Send her my best wishes and I hope she recovers enough function to at least be able to use the arm she has left. I guess the best advice I can give her is hope for the best but expect the worse
    C-5/6, 7-9-2000
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

  5. #5
    Senior Member skippy13's Avatar
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    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter. This tragedy is just beyond understanding. A thousand good wishes.

  6. #6
    The best resource I can think of would be Challenged Athletes Foundation. http://www.challengedathletes.org/
    They support a lot of amputees, and may know of someone in a similar situation to your daughter. Their keynote speaker (and founder I think?) has an SCI and a leg amputated (separate accidents).

  7. #7
    Lizzy, I am glad she has some resources available to her already. Can you get her on-line here? Are they teaching her how to use a computer/voice recognition at Kessler? She should be getting such equipment through worker's comp if not.

    (KLD)

  8. #8
    Bonnie has some movement in her arm. She has her bicep and a weak tricep but no wrist yet. They are working to get the arm stronger and while the OT has workied with the computer a little Bonnie is hoping to be able to use a mouse at least. she did try a power chair with a chin controlled joy stick which she didn't like, and her OT thinks the arm is almost good enough to use a hand contol. Yes comp has been coverring everything so far incuding getting her into an apartment that they will be covering the rent on.

  9. #9
    Sorry I just saw this thread. I was only 5 when I got hit by a car and have a complete injury at T-8 and lost my left leg above the knee. It's been over 40 years since my accident but I think I understand what your daughter is going through. There were times growing up that I thought being an amputee was worse than being a para. If there's anything I can do to help I'd be happy to. My heart goes out to both you and your daughter.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by LizzyTish65 View Post
    On april 14, 2008 my daughter was injured while working as an EMT in an ambulance accident. She has a fractured vertebra at C-5, is now fused from C3-C7. She also lost her right arm almost to the shoulder. I was wondering if there is anyone else dealing with 2 major injuries and maybe some advice on helping her to deal with it all.
    LizzyTish65,

    It is tragic, what happened to your daughter, and likewise what happened to many of us here. I empathize with how one's world can change profoundly in an instant.

    The key to handling it, in my opinion, is I think that we all have to put things in proper perspective. I believe there is always someone else out there dealing with worse circumstances--and I say that as a vent-dependent C1-2.

    I'm lucky in many ways, and I mean that sincerely--even though I have no movement below my neck. One MAJOR blessing is I have no pain, either. I had a friend who was quad, but he had use of his arms (and some finger movement) and he was in so much pain that he broke 4 teeth from clenching them so much. I used past tense because the pain drove him to commit suicide. He told me that he would gladly give up the use of his arms and be vent-dependent like me if he could have no pain.

    A less-grim lesson I learned in my initial hospitalizations was that it is better to have an SCI than a brain injury. I'm still the same person that my family and friends knew from before my injury. But I witnessed firsthand someone with a fully-functioning body who had absolutely no clue who he or anyone else was. What good is a body without a brain and the memories/life that go with it?

    I don't want to sound pompous or arrogant, but I'm planning to write a book (which I plan to make available for free) and the purpose is to share healthy life perspectives and help people learn to be happy (if they aren't already). I plan to share things like I just wrote above in response to seeing this thread (I'm going to keep the above with my material, just in case...).

    God bless!

    Bill Miller
    Wheelchair users -- even high-level quads... WANNA BOWL?

    I'm a C1-2 with a legit 255 high bowling game.

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