Skip to content
| Patient Story

Jamaal’s Summit Story

Jamaal came to Summit after developing a cyst on his wrist, but what he would learn at the appointment, would change his life forever.

About Jamaal’s Summit Story

At six years old, Jamaal suffered an injury that caused nerve damage in his right forearm. He was told that he would not be able to extend his right hand and would be splint-bound for life. Fast-forward to 2020, when Jamaal came to Summit with a cyst on his right wrist. What he was told that day would change his life forever.

Meet Dr. Robert Anderson

Dr. Anderson’s approach: “My own injuries and need for surgeries have helped me understand the patient experience. I’m a better listener and care provider as a result. I grew up and attended college in the area, so I know and understand the people of the Twin Cities.”

Dr. Anderson’s education: Dr. Anderson studied at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN to obtain his undergraduate degree, and he went on to complete his medical degree at the University of Minnesota. He attended Indiana University Medical School in Indianapolis, IN for his residency in Orthopedics, and he completed advanced training as part of the Hand Surgery fellowship at the Indiana Hand Center.

Summit Orthopedics provides personalized hand and wrist expertise

The function of our hands is integrated 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.

Start your journey to better function and less pain. Find your hand expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

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, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

Video Transcription

Jamaal: My name is Jamaal Heath. I’m a father of four beautiful kids. I was first introduced to Summit Orthopedics because I had developed a cyst on my right wrist. And so I had scheduled an appointment and went in. And when I shook his hand, he had noticed that I had some type of disability.

Dr. Anderson: When I first met Jamaal, he came in in a kind of unassuming fashion. He had a ganglion cyst on his wrist, and he came in simply to have that removed. And it’s hard not to notice the other problem that was glaringly apparent when he came in: that he couldn’t straighten his wrist or his fingers.

Jamaal: My initial injury was a nerve laceration. I was six and a half, close to seven years old. I was living in Detroit, Michigan, and it happened on my right forearm. And it just made me disabled in a way to where I couldn’t extend my right hand. And as a child, that was a scary thing to go through. So I had went in for a procedure to repair the nerve damage and it was actually unsuccessful. So at that point I was pretty much splint-bound for life. Holding things in my hand – that was difficult. I used to not want to give my kids a bath with them being slippery and soapy because I couldn’t actually grasp onto them with both hands. Reaching out and grabbing things like a cup of water or even doing a simple handshake was difficult.

Dr. Anderson: The way he approached it, he really in his mind thought that it was something that was unfixable. So he intently listened, but there was almost a disbelief when I was talking to him – that, no, really this is fixable, and you shouldn’t have to be like this. This is something that we should be able to address and get you back a significant amount of quality improvement to the function of your hand, by trying to repair the damage. I think for him, the first time we did the consultation, I think it took him quite a while to come to terms with that that was within the realm of possibility.

Jamaal: I actually, I used to have dreams about being able to open my hand like regular. And I remember the conversation and the first person that I called was my mom. And she had tears in her eyes, saying that, “He can really fix it?” And I said, “Yeah. He’s confident he can.” So after the surgery, life has been great. Those little concerns that I had with opening my hand and just simply shake somebody’s hand, they’re not there anymore. Just in general like, I feel like I got my right side of my body back. I had a huge scar on my right arm from my first unsuccessful surgery. And it used to be, like, just so visible to me. Now, in my mind, I don’t even see it. The procedure that I had through Summit Orthopedics showed me what I was missing out on physically. I used to dream about being able to use my hand, and Dr. Anderson and Summit Orthopedics – they made it possible. And then, in my book, they actually made a miracle work for me.