From a very early age, with an impish grin and a twinkle in his eyes, my son, Matthew, would entertain all with his antics and ability to flip and fly through the air. As time went on, he used these skills in freestyle skiing with grace, determination, and quite a few spills. Never deterred, he picked himself up, carried on, and refined his skills. As an accomplished aerialist, he soared high combining many flips and twists. As his mother, I looked on with both pride and fear. I watched, guided, and chastised him when he went to far.
On a snowy day in March 2010 Matthew fell to earth.
We got a call from him and in his very calm and collected voice he said, “Hi mom, I kinda broke my leg.” A conversation with the emergency personnel at the mountain revealed a much more serious situation; the local hospital was not equipped to deal with his injuries and the helicopter was on the way to take him to a trauma center.
He spent a few weeks at a local hospital and once he was stabilized, we transferred him to Hospital for Special Surgery - enter Dr. Helfet and his incredible team.
We are now going on almost two years under Dr. Helfet’s care and the results have been remarkable. What started as a fight to save his leg has evolved into a success story of a young man who has continued on with his college studies and just last month, returned to skiing. Matt’s medical records detail all the procedures and complications he faced along the way, but what they don’t tell is the skill, care, concern, and delightful bedside manner of Dr. Helfet.
During the months that Matthew spent at HSS, I was amazed by all the unsolicited stories from patients attesting to Dr Helfet’s skill, and how lucky we are to have found him. We agree, very lucky indeed. I have told all my friends, I hope they never have occasion to require orthopedic trauma care, but if they do, I know who they should go see.
I would be remiss in not also acknowledging the rest of his team. Patricia, Allison and the many fellows who crossed paths with Matthew all provided the best and highest level of care. I also have to thank Dr. Helfet for putting up with Matt’s neurotic mother. But, as Dr. Helfet says, neurotic mothers are one of his specialties!
We have also crossed paths with many specialists during Matt’s stay at HSS. We often wonder if Dr. Wang ever went home, as he was ever present overseeing Matthew’s pain management. Our introduction to Dr. Miller was at first a bit dismaying, because it signaled yet another complication in Matthew’s recovery, however, he proved very adept in managing Matt's multiple infections. Dr. Miller also always took the time to answer my endless questions and explain all of his decisions.
And finally, the hospital’s unsung heroes, the nursing staff, deserve equal praise. They were ever present, competent, thorough, and caring. What more can we say, they made Matt’s stay as comfortable as possible and fulfilled all his requests. We are in their debt.
Dr. Helfet likes to say Matthew is "the real deal," so is Dr. Helfet.
Do you know someone who could benefit from reading these inspiring stories? Click on the icons below. Thanks for sharing!
Please consider becoming an ambassador for the Hospital by sharing your experience with those around you. Your words of encouragement give reassurance to others considering HSS for their care.