Eli’s Summit Story
One Patient’s Experience Returning to a Healthy and Active Lifestyle.
Eli, a patient of Debra Parisi, M.D., shares his experience at Summit Orthopedics.
Eli: We were splitting wood out in the driveway with a hydraulic log splitter, and it was a buddy of mine and my dad. And one guy operates the push-pull, and so you have the back pushing the wood into the blade. And then the No. 1 rule for the guy who’s feeding it is never put your hands in the front and the back. See that they’re always on the side. So you put the wood in, pushes forward, splits. Put the wood in, push forward, splits. And so, I had put on a knotty piece, and it kind of tipped, so just instinctually I went like this to adjust it when the pusher went forward into the blade. When it happened, it was like back-arching pain and involuntary scream. And so I pulled my hand up and I ripped my glove off, and it was a leather glove, and it had been cut in the wood splitter. And so I took it off and then, like, grabbed my fingers and like ran to the kitchen. I don’t why. I think I was thinking, like, ice or water. And then I got to the kitchen and I was, like, “Ooh this is not an ice or water issue.” And then ran outside and my dad was ready to bring me to the ER.
Dr. Parisi: I was on call for Summit Orthopedics hand service line, and this was actually the long Thanksgiving weekend. And I got a call one late afternoon about a patient who had gotten his hand crushed in a wood splitter. And he had fractures of the hand, the index, and the middle finger, which were exposed to air, which are called open fractures. So this is sort of an emergency situation, and so we prepared to take Eli to the OR before I even had met him.
Eli: When I was waiting in the room, Dr. Parisi had come and visited and talked to me, and I think my dad was there at the time. What was awesome is when we went up to the surgery area and she had a team, she was on. I mean, I have one very distinct memory that she was in charge, and this was happening, and it was go time. And that I know gave actually my dad a lot of comfort in what was about to happen. I had surgery, came out in the middle of the night, and she said, “We’ve put it back on, and we’re hoping the outlook is good.” And so then it was, you know, a couple of months waiting to see if everything had turned out the way it was supposed to. Or we’d hoped.
Dr. Parisi: And that’s when his recovery process really switched over from waiting for the bones to heal to getting the fingers to move. And so at that point, we sent Eli to work with a hand therapist, and he spent an additional few months working with a hand therapist getting his range of motion and strength back in his hand.
Eli: Having had my hand in the cast for a couple of months, it came out not super strong. And then, of course, these two fingers were healing. And so the physical therapy was really to get range of motion and strength back in my hand so that I could do this right now. Like, I’m thrilled that I can do this. It’s really cool. And that it just can return to normal functionality. I mean, this injury’s affected me in a few ways. So one way is just extreme gratitude and thankfulness for folks who’ve dedicated their lives to helping people who have these kind of situations. To Dr. Parisi, I would just like to say thank you. I mean, she did an incredible thing and, you know, spent her life getting to a place where she had the ability to put my finger back on my hand. I mean, I think that is an incredible thing for someone to be able to do and is an incredible achievement. And then in terms of how she treated me as a patient and interacted with me: She was always very straightforward and open and was an awesome partner as we went through what, for me, is a really meaningful and life-changing event.
Summit Orthopedics provides personalized hand and wrist expertise
The function of our hands integrates through our wrists and arms to our shoulders; a problem anywhere along our arm may have a significant impact on hand function and quality of life. If you experience an injury or uncomfortable symptoms, our fellowship-trained hand and wrist surgeons are here to help. Summit physicians receive the highest levels of training and exclusively provide individualized care for conditions of the hand, wrist, and elbow.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, Plymouth, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
More resources for you
Learn about why jammed finger injuries require immediate treatment.
Upper extremity surgeon Dr. Parisi recommends a checklist of questions for patients considering hand surgery.
Upper extremity surgeon Dr. Parisi guides you through a conversation you should have with your hand surgeon.