February 14, 2023

Tag, You're It 

Inka Nisinbaum came to the United States from Germany in 2009. Bringing her native language with her, she taught German to second and third graders in St. Louis. Like all great teachers, she knew the balance between work and play. Mrs. Nisinbaum took her students outside after a lesson one day and joined them in a game of tag. Their fun game had an abrupt ending when Inka fell on her right arm. 

It was pretty obvious she had a break right away; bones were protruding and she couldn't lift the arm. Her first priority was shielding the children form seeing the gruesome injury, despite the pain shock she was experiencing. 

About the Case 

At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, she saw Washington University Orthopedics trauma surgeon, Anna Miller, MD, and Inka's first question was if her arm could be saved and. Dr. Miller assured her the limb would be saved and shared with Inka the plan to fix multiple breaks in the right arm. "She was very professional and straight forward. Dr. Miller discussed potential complications and set expectations up front. I really appreciated her transparency from the beginning."  

In Inka's case, because the bones were sticking out when she fell, a very meticulous surgery had to be done immediately to remove every visible speck of dirt from the bones. The bone had also shortened, which happens in almost all fractures due to the muscle forces on the bones, so the bones had to be pulled back out to the right length and held in place with plates and screws. 

Inka shares that the journey of recovery isn't always as quick as we might like. After staying at Barnes-Jewish Hospital for a few days, Inka went home with the ability to move her arm, but limitations on her normal strength and exercise routine. This was expected while her arm healed from the trauma of the injury and the subsequent surgery. She started physical therapy, twice per week, and gradually progressed. She remembers milestones of recovery, like being able to put on jeans just two weeks after her surgery, and working her way up to holding a coffee mug after two months. It took about six months to get to a place of function that resembled what she had before her injury. 

Workers' Compensation 

Although her injury happened in an innocent game of tag, she was injured on the job. WashU Ortho is committed to providing quality orthopedic care and expert assistance to Workers' Compensation patients like Inka. Workers' Compensation Program Administrator, Laura Meyer explains, "Our main focus is to streamline all communication between the Work Comp Carriers and the orthopedic providers so that the entire process is handled as smoothly as possible. We are here to assist with anything and everything that may be needed from the initial date of injury until the patient is able to be released from our care. Work Comp carriers often tell us how appreciative they are that our department has people designated to Work Comp and everything that it may involve."

Learn why patient's choose Washington University Orthopedicsrequest an appointment online or call (314) 514-3500.

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