www.RogerWendell.com
Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
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Tami's Australian Broken Leg Receives Yet Another Cast in Denver Tami's Broken Leg - in Australia!
On November 15, 2005 Tami severely broke her right leg, just above the ankle, after we were ten days into our Australian vacation. We were in the Northern Territory, driving south to "Alice" (Alice Springs) when Tami slipped on a rock during a roadside break (so to speak!). We quickly drove our rental car to the town of Katherine where Tami received immediate attention at their local hospital. From Katherine we then went back up north, 3 hours, to Darwin's Royal Hospital...

 

 

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my main Australia page...
Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my Australia Part Two page...

Since we were many hundreds of kilometres from any large city we immediately drove to Katherine, the nearest settlement in Australia's Northern Territory. The staff and doctors, in Katherine, gave Tami immediate attention (and Morphine!) but determined the additional resources of Darwin's public hospital would be necessary.

We drove in relative comfort (thanks to the Morphine! [for Tami, not me...]) over the three hours up north to Darwin. At the Royal Darwin Hospital Tami underwent initial surgery so that Dr. Cripps (I believe senior doctors, in Australia, are actually referred to as "Mr.") could set her leg bones back into position.

Tami received excellent care and attention in Katherine and at Royal Darwin Hospital. Australia can be proud of the universal healthcare it provides its citizenry! Even visitors, such as ourselves, receive fairly priced, professional attention (daily emergency care, for foreigners, costs $1,300 [$950 USD] per day - extraordinarily reasonable compared to what most of us are accustomed to...). For elective procedures, and other alternatives, Australians have the option to pay for "private" health care. What I found interesting was that the "private" hospital was located on the same property as the public facility with both sharing many of the same doctors and staff!!

Despite all of the positives associated with Australia's public healthcare system, I still recommend travel insurance for wherever you're on holiday throughout the world - emergency flights back home, trip interruptions, and even deaths are all covered by most policies...

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado, USA
(Okay, although I don't like making commercial recommendations many travelers have asked me which insurance agent treated Tami and I so well on that fateful trip to Australia back in '05 - it was STA Travel with Berkeley Care as the underwriter at that time. Although I, myself, wouldn't hesitate to use either again I still recommend you do your own research to find a policy that works best for you!)

 

(Click on any "Thumbnail" image for a larger view)
[a "mouse-over" provides additional information for each photo]

 

Initial visit to Katherine, Northern Territory, and then 3 hours north to Darwin:

Tami's Broken Leg as it first appeared at Katherine's Hospital in Australia - November, 2005
Bent and twisted
Tami Getting X-rays at Katherine Hospital, Australia - November, 2005
X-rays in Katherine, Australia
Cutting an Expansion Joint into Tami's Temporary Cast at Katherine Hospital, Australia - November, 2005
Expansion joint...
Preparing Tami's Temporary Cast at Katherine Hospital, Australia - November, 2005
Temporary cast
Street Sign to Darwin Hospital, Australia - November, 2005
Helpful signs...
Tami has Weet Bix for Breakfast at Royal Darwin Hospital, Australia - November, 2005
Hospital breakfast
Doctors and Staff Surround Tami at Royal Darwin Hospital, Australia - November, 2005
Darwin's Hospital staff
Street Sign for Royal Darwin Hospital, Australia - November, 2005
Finding the hospital...
TMain Entrance to Royal Darwin Hospital, Australia - November, 2005
Royal Darwin entrance
Private Hospital at Darwin, Australia - November, 2005
Private alternative...

 

"Franken Foot" and follow-up in Denver:

Tami's 'Franken Foot' 15 Days after Surgery in Denver - December 5, 2005
15 Days after surgery
Tami's 'Franken Foot' 15 Days after Surgery in Denver - December 5, 2005
Tape
Removing Staples and Stiches from Tami's 'Franken Foot' 15 Days after Surgery in Denver - December 5, 2005
Removing staples...
Removing Staples and Stiches from Tami's 'Franken Foot' 15 Days after Surgery in Denver - December 5, 2005
Un-sewing...
Removing Staples and Stiches from Tami's 'Franken Foot' 15 Days after Surgery in Denver - December 5, 2005
Almost done...
St. Joseph Hospital asks What Color of Cast do You Want? Denver - December 5, 2005 Doctor Paul Docktor takes a closer look at Tami's stiches and staples, Denver - December 5, 2005
Dr. Paul Docktor
Removing Another one of Tami's Casts at St. Jospeh Hospital, Denver - December 5, 2005
Cutting the old
Removing Another one of Tami's Casts at St. Jospeh Hospital, Denver - December 5, 2005
Removing the old
Removing Another one of Tami's Casts at St. Jospeh Hospital, Denver - December 5, 2005
Wrapping the new

 

Crunchie Bar, Tami's Toes, basement living, and Roger's room in Darwin:

Tami and Our Favorite Australian Crunchie Bar - November, 2005
Crunchie bar at Qantas
Tami's Toes - November, 2005
Toes up-close...
Tami Tries to Stay Warm in Our Basement, Green Mountain - November, 2005
At home in our basement
Capricornia Hotel Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia - November 2005
Roger's hotel in Darwin
Roger's Room at the Capricornia Hotel in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia - November 2005
Roger's hotel room...

 

Since the swelling in Tami's leg was somewhat persistent it was decided to use the extra time to fly back to Denver for the remaining surgery. As I mentioned earlier, travel insurance helped us out considerably - our particular policy covered Tami's hospital care, my lodging, and our travel back home ($12,000 for one-way flights to Denver!).

Of course, back at home in Denver, we've always received fantastic care from Kaiser Permanente and this incident was no exception! Dr. Paul Docktor (really!) and his staff operated on Tami's leg for over two and half hours - keeping a nervous Roger (Tami's husband, the guy writing this page....) and his parents informed every step of the way. Kaiser also provided a visiting physical therapist for Tami, at home, in additon to all kinds of follow-up care including calls at home from her doctor!!

X-ray of Tami's Broken Leg After Surgery in Denver - November, 2005 Anyway, when we arrived at Denver's International Airport the insurance company (Berkley Care - purchased through STA Travel) had a stretch limo waiting to take us to St. Jospeh's Hospital where Dr. Docktor took Tami's case and performed the surgey on a Sunday.

Tami received excellent care in both Darwin and Denver. The final surgery, in Denver, is where her leg received a plate and pins to stabilize the severely damaged bones. The Operative Report stated, in part;

"The patient fell in Australia and just got back yesterday from a 22-hour flight. Neurovascular is intact. She had a fracture dislocation that was reduced in a hospital in Darwin, Australia.

DETAILS OF PROCEDURE:

Medial malleolar incision protecting neurovascular structures, irrigating and debriding periosteum from a rather vertical shear-type fracture of the medial malleolus that extended anteriorly and posteriorly including some of the sheath for the ______ posterior and posteromedial neurovascular structures. Small bone fragments removed.

The tibiotalar joint appeared normal.

Lateral incision in the interval between the peroneals and the posterior aspect of the fibula and the fracture had quite a bit of comminution. There was some bone missing from the anterior dietal fibular area. There appeared to be some avulsion of the anterior talofibular ligament and the anteriror tibia fibular ligaments which were sewn later. Anatomical reduction held with an eight-hole plate and one lag screw. This was a long spiral fracture. It appeared that no syndesmosis fixation was necessary once we stabilized the bone."

 

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6 Month Follow-up

X-ray of Tami Wendell's Broken Ankle 6 Months after Surgery - 06-20-2006 On Tuesday morning, June 20th (2006) I accompanied Tami to Dr. Docktor's office for her six month review. Her leg has healed nicely and is doing well (has good range of motion, etc.) except for a small amount of pain near some of the "hardware" that's been installed. Although this pain, too, is diminishing with time Dr. Docktor suggested that she consider having the metal removed in a few months. Tami says she'll think about it over the summer and see how the healing continues to progress...

- Roger J. Wendell, 06-20-2006

 

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Links:

  1. Australia Main Page
  2. Australia Two Page
  3. Japan
  4. Kaiser Permanente
  5. Miscellaneous Pix
  6. Pine Gap - The CIA's Australia satellite network ground station
  7. Royal Darwin Hospital
  8. Snow Day
  9. St. Jospeh Hospital - Denver
  10. RAW in Japan!
  11. Tami's Graduation
  12. Travel
  13. Travel Two
  14. TLWendell - homepage
  15. Vegetarianism

 

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