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Above and Beyond: Part One

How Dr. Foad’s Patient Care Surpassed Expectations for an Expecting Mother

May 9th of 2019 began as a typical day for Megan Hassel. The mother of three (soon to be four) was 36 weeks pregnant, and she was excitedly preparing for the arrival of her fourth child amid preschool graduation ceremonies and the usual end-of-the-school-year hustle and bustle. That day she and her husband were hosting a party celebrating one of their children’s graduation from preschool to kindergarten. However, an accident would soon change her plans for that day.

The accident resulted in distal radius and ulna fractures in her left arm. In layman’s terms, this means she broke her wrist, but more specifically, this was a break of the larger and smaller bones in the forearm. The term “distal” means that the fractures occurred close to the end of the bone.

This fracture is one of the most common orthopaedic injuries and can occur due to several reasons, such as osteoporosis or falling and catching yourself with your hand. In Megan’s case, the force of her accident was enough to cause the break. For almost all fractures of this type, surgery is needed to repair the damage.

Dr. Mohab Foad, an orthopaedic surgeon from Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, was on call at the hospital where Megan was taken. He was on her case within the hour. Dr. Foad specializes in the treatment of hand and upper extremity disorders, as well as reconstructive microsurgery. He determined after examining Megan that surgery was the best option for a successful recovery.

Repairing distal radius and ulna fractures can be a simple outpatient procedure in which a cast is fit to the arm and hand. In many of these cases, the patient does not have to stay overnight to recover. Some patients can even wait a day or two before going to get fit for a cast if necessary.

Generally, in the case of surgery, the patient would be put under general anesthesia. Due to her pregnancy, however, Dr. Foad was concerned that putting her completely under would be too dangerous for both her and her unborn baby. Because Megan was also in a lot of pain, waiting any longer to treat was not a good option either.

Rather than put Megan and her baby at risk under anesthesia, Dr. Foad proposed that he perform the surgery with a local anesthetic while Megan was awake. This method would be the safest option and allow same-day surgery to take place to minimize Megan’s pain and stress.

The surgery was scheduled for midnight that night. It would be a relatively simple procedure, but there was a concern that with Megan remaining awake, something unexpected could go wrong.

As she prepared herself to be awake during the procedure, Megan tried to steel herself. The pain she was in was enough to distract her, but the nerves still managed to creep in. She had never had surgery like this before, much less fully conscious. However, she understood that it was the best option for her and the safety of her unborn baby, and she was confident in Dr. Foad’s abilities. He fully explained to her exactly how he was going to do the procedure, and he assured her that he would make it as quick as possible.

On top of all of the pain and stress of having surgery while fully conscious, Megan began experiencing labor contractions. The baby was coming soon, and her pain level increased as the contractions grew stronger. After consulting with an OB team, Dr. Foad decided that they could still do the surgery, and both mom and baby would be safe through it.

With these reassurances, Megan went into surgery at midnight.

Part Two coming soon!