A Patients Story: Jon A.
On March 6, 2015, 7-year-old Jon A. had decided it would be fun to set up an obstacle course in his house around 10 p.m., which basically meant he was jumping from one piece of furniture to the next. He was on the recliner jumping to the inn table where there was a fingernail polish bottle sitting. He missed the table with his body falling to the floor between the table and the chair but his arm came down on the fingernail polish bottle, busting the bottle into pieces. A large piece of the bottle severed the FDP, FDS, FCU tendons; the palmaris, the median, ulnar, ulnar sensory nerve; and ulnar artery. A piece of the broken bottle was still in his arm.
“When we heard the screams we knew something was really wrong and we found Jon with our oldest daughter trying to get him to us, blood everywhere and pumping out fast. My husband who is a PA got him to the sink so he could try to see what was going on and yelled at me to call 911 and I knew then if he was panicked then it wasn’t good. Brandon was able to get the bleeding stopped before the medics arrived thankfully.” said Jon’s mother Amber.
The medics tried to assess Jon but if pressure was removed the bleeding resumed. They had no idea the glass was still in his arm until he got to St. Johns Hospital in Anderson where they did an x-ray. So while the pressure applied to the arm had to happen to keep Jon from loosing too much blood it may have also contributed to the extent of the laceration to the internal structures. The physician at Johns Hospital assessed him and decided he needed to go on to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis for surgery.
They drove Jon to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and the intake nurse from the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center was there waiting to assess Jon when we arrived to see if they needed to go straight to surgery or wait until the morning. With the extent of the injury they decided they needed to operate as soon as possible.
“The staff in the emergency room at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital as well as the surgical staff were great with Jon and two very nervous parents. Dr. James J. Creighton, Jr. took Jon into surgery around 3:30a.m., Brandon and I set in the surgical waiting room for what seemed like FOREVER.” said Amber
Dr. Creighton came out around 6:30 to tell the parents the extent of Jon’s injuries, which was much worse than they originally anticipated. The broken glass had to be removed as well as the fingernail polish before Dr. Creighton could even begin to repair all the arteries, nerves and ligaments.
“Dr. Creighton was very frank with us when he came to talk to us. Not making any promises on what kind of recovery Jon would have. We didn’t know if he would have recurring infections after surgery due to the fingernail polish, we didn’t know if he would have ever have normal function in his hand or any at all. Because he not only severed the ulnar nerve, he also partially severed the median nerve which controls your intrinsic muscles and the intrinsic muscles control the individual movement of the fingers. In the grand scheme of things this injury could have cost Jon his life, we knew we had already been given that blessing. But we did grieve for the things we knew Jon, who loves baseball, basketball, football, and all things little boys love may have to give up.” said Amber.
After recovery they spent two nights at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital for them to administer pain medication and antibiotics. Jon went home with a huge cast and orders to come back in 10 days to remove his sutures and to get recast. Jon’s family had planned a spring break trip and left the day after Jon’s sutures came out. He was placed in a removable cast which was okay to get wet on vacation.
Jon started therapy with Barb in Anderson as soon as the family got back from spring break and continued therapy twice a week from April-August, then went to once a week in August-September where he was released after meeting all his therapy goals.
“Barb was so good with Jon, and he loved her. She made him work hard but was very encouraging to him.”
Throughout the therapy sessions Jon had lots of different casts and splints to target one area of rehab or another. When Jon started his therapy with Barb his grip strength in his Left hand was 4lbs, 5 months later in September his grip strength was 20lbs. His progress was impressive.
“Jon saw Dr. Creighton monthly and He is so good with Jon, making sure he knew the importance of continuing to work to regain his strength and movement. Dr. Creighton was also impressed by the progress Jon was making.” said Amber
Jon was very guarded with his Left arm for a very long time and wouldn’t use it. Dr. Creighton assured the family that when he got the feeling back in his hand he would use it like he used to, and now he does.
“There are now times where I forget the accident happened because He is a normal boy, doing normal things, who just happens to have a really cool scar. We can never give enough thanks to everyone who played a role in Jon’s treatment and recovery. Dr. Creighton had a BIG challenge that night and he rose up like a superstar. We are so thankful for him and his staff at the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center. Plus the nurses and staff on the recovery floor after surgery, who were also wonderful and the multiple prayers that were said for our boy not only that night but all through his recovery.” said Amber
“While Jon will always have to be mindful to keep the scar tissue stretched as long as he continues to grow to make sure he doesn’t have retraction of his muscles and hand he is one blessed little boy who is back to enjoying all the things he could do before his injury. He is just wrapping up his first season of tackle football, where he plays maybe a little more guarded, and his Dad and I are a little more nervous than we would have been prior to his injury. But he plays center where he guards the biggest opponents and snaps the ball to the quarterback, and no one would ever know that just 6 months ago we weren’t sure Jon would ever have use of that hand. We will continue to see Dr. Creighton once a year until Jon stops growing to be sure he is progressing as he should. And we look forward to those visits to thank Dr. Creighton and remind him of the difference he has made in our lives.”
Jon is now back playing all the sports he loves so much.