Monday, June 8, 2009

Hospitals and Healthcare

Hello DPT Community,

As I was gearing up for class this summer, I came across an article at about how health care dollars are shrinking, but this was unusual. It was unusual in the sense that these dollars are shrinking because of the failing US economy in terms of the stock market. Organizations like the Shriners Hospital for Children make it possible for many children to receive superlative healthcare at no cost to their families. Their website says they are "one of a kind" and indeed in our healthcare system they are. Read why this national treasure is in trouble!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spectacular Catch... Horrific Collision

DPT Community,

Last night I sat in horror watching the evening news as Rick Ankiel, former phemon pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals turned major league outfielder, collided head first into the center field wall making a spectacular catch. Watch the clip and you can see the mechanism of injury for cervical spine injuries that lead to catastrophic injuries for athletes. As of this morning, the radiographic evidence supports that Rick has not suffered a fracture and the early signs are positive that he will recover. Keep Rick in your thoughts and prayers.

I have spent many hours on the sidelines of sporting events. I have witnessed many injuries and led the triage of many injured athletes. From fracture wrists in soccer matches to neck injuries from collisions in football. I have managed athletes with concussions and severe knee injuries. I have evaluated fractured clavicles under shoulder pads. I have cleansed countless wounds and stopped blood from flowing from open lacerations. As I reflect upon the last 20 years of dealing with athletic injuries during competition, the one constant is how time stands still for me. When the event is happening, my training goes into effect and the world seems to slow down for me. I have stabilized many cervical spines with the goal to minimize further damage, and I have hoped and prayed that the injury that I am managing is not catastrophic for the athlete. For those of you wanting to further your careers in the sports realm, emergency preparedness is a must!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Taking One for the Team

Hello DPT Bloggers,
I was asked a few weeks back by Dr. Jenkins if I would enter a charity event to help raise money for a project the students were doing. The email went something like this... "The Physical Therapy team is planning to do a fund raiser for the American Heart Association Heart Walk (Springfield, MO) and we need your help!!! We are planning on a doing a coin drive with 5 faculty members ... The students will bring in change and place it in the container of the person they would like to see get a pie to the face. The person with the most money in their container will be the "winner" of the pie in the face. However, if you are the "winner" and you would rather not take the pie, you will have the option to match the money that was raised and get out of the pie situation. It would then default to the next highest money raiser, and so on."

Well the grand finale was held on April 8 at noon. The pie was bought (Chocolate, my favorite), and I seemed destined to take one for the team. The team was selling chili and cornbread and even selling deserts as well as raffling the chance to through the pie. I think they would have auctioned off the neuro-lab if I would have let them! Soon, after the festive eating was winding down, Dr. Jenkins, after some mild dramatics, announced the "winner!" It became evident that there was no way around it. The pie was handed to the winner of the raffle and after some documentary photographs, the students had their fun as I took a pie in the face.

All in all, the pie toss and chili earned the group about $300 to go to a worthy cause. I wish them the best in their continued efforts to raise funds for their big walk. If you wish to "take one for the team" and help support them, please contact Dr. Tena Jenkins or Dr. Amber Fleer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In Her Own Words!

Hello DPT Community,

Recently, a DPT student underwent surgery to alleviate pain she was having. I asked her to share her story so you could learn from her experiences. Here is her story, in her own words:

When I 22 years old and just started PT school, I was working as a PT tech at a local nursing home. One day I was instructed to go get a patient from their room for an evaluation. When I walked in the room the patient was sitting on the bed and I had to transfer him to his wheelchair to take him to the PT room. I asked his wife who was smaller than I am if she is able to transfer him to the wheelchair by herself and she replied. “Yes and my daughter helps a little.” Her daughter looked roughly 9 years old and I thought surely I can transfer him to the wheelchair myself. I am young and have been a college athlete. I was successful with transferring the patient and thought later that day my back felt a bit stiff. I woke up the next morning and could barely make it out of bed for class. I thought okay I have had aches and pains before from playing sports. I will just give it time and it will go away. Six weeks later it hadn’t gone away and it was still feeling very uncomfortable to sit or move. I went to a neurologist and found out that I have a bulging disk at level L4-L5 and a ruptured disk at level L5-S1. I was instructed to do physical therapy which I was doing with my professor’s help. The physical therapy helped my symptoms for about 14 months. I called my doctor and told him that my pain was coming back and physical therapy is just not helping anymore. He allowed me 3 epidural steroid injections. The first 2 lasted approximately 4-6 weeks. The 3rd injection lasted about 4 months. I woke up one morning and rolled over to get out of bed and bam I felt this bad pain in my back and started the same symptoms all over again. I thought okay I will just do my exercises and see if that helps and some Advil or ibuprofen. None of this helped at all and I was in so much pain I couldn’t continue to do my exercises. I found positions that would relieve my pain. I was leaning over to the left to unload that side while sitting and then began to limp because the radiating pain the progressed further and further down my leg each week. After 5 weeks of pain I finally called the doctor and said I have to see you ASAP. My appointment was scheduled one week away and I would just have to take the pain until then. As the pain just kept getting worse and worse and on the day before I was to see the doctor and get another MRI it was unbearable. I was in the most unbelievable amount of pain I had to leave class early and two of my professors had to drive me home. I thought if I can go home and find a comfortable position that I can make it to tomorrow without going to the ER like my professors had suggested. I got home and the pain was worse lying down and I could not find any position that relieved my pain even the slightest bit. I ended up going to the ER that night for pain medicine that didn’t even touch the pain but just made me tired instead. The following day I had the MRI done and saw the doctor right after that. After a short conversation he decided I was having surgery. I asked him when does he want to do the surgery and he said, “let’s do it tomorrow.” I thought “oh my gosh” things are just moving too fast but I knew that there was a big chance of being relieved of my pain immediately after surgery. I expected this because I had tried every conservative treatment that they wanted before resulting in surgery. He performed a hemilaminectomy with a microdiscectomy and when I woke up I was pain free. It was an outpatient surgery and I was required to walk, urinate, and be able to eat and drink and keep it down. During my walk I asked the nurse if we could walk further since I hadn’t walked in 6 weeks without pain. My surgery was on a Wednesday and I went home on Wednesday. The following Monday I was able to return back to school. It was the best I have felt in 2 years. Some slight discomfort was tolerable compared to the intense pain I was in before. I would recommend this surgery to anyone that has tried all options of conservative treatment. It’s has been 2 weeks later and I am doing great!

Baseball, Health Care and Statistics!

Hey DPT Community!

Who would have thought that someone would have rolled three of my loves into one thing to read? Baseball, Statistics and Health Care! This New York Times article look at how we can improve the health care system in the USA!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Amazing Technology!

OK DPT Community!

This is a much watch! Open this 60 minutes video and watch it. If this technology continues to develop, you will be on the edge of an amazing revolution in rehabilitation. I remember 25 years ago working with patients who had suffered spinal cord injuries giving them a lesson in the pathomechanics of their injury. They would always ask if the spinal cord would just regrow? Of course, my answer was the wires have been cut and there is no way for the brain to communicate with the body. But NOW THERE IS!

Together with you in His service,


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

PTJ -- Journal announcement


ELECTION 2008 AND BEYOND: Proposed Health Care Plans; Future of Disability

RELEASE DATE: October 28, 2008


WHO: Anthony Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Chair, and Alan Jette, PT, PhD,
FAPTA, Member, PTJ Steering Committee; and Justin Moore, PT, DPT, APTA
Director of Federal Government Affairs. Moderator: Rebecca Craik, PT, PhD,
FAPTA, Editor in Chief.

Part 1 - The Presidential Candidates' Health Care Proposals

Delitto, Jette, and Moore provide summary and analysis of the health care
plans proposed by Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. Be informed when
you cast your ballot on November 4. Running time: 17:43 (8,318 KB)

Part 2 - Beyond Election 2008: Disability Research

Regardless of who is in the White House following the November 4th
election, what does the future hold for disability research in the United
States? Running time: 22:19 (10,473 KB)

Note: PTJ and APTA do not endorse, support, or take a position on the
candidates or their health care platforms.

For more PTJ podcasts--including audio abstracts, discussions, interviews,
and clinical summaries--visit
Questions? Contact PTJ's managing editor at