Before his accident, Chi Wai Lam went to work every day at a hardware store in Sunset Park, played with his two young children and lived a happy, healthy life. All that changed one winter day in 2006, when his lower left leg was shattered.
Chi's car was stuck in the snow, so he put a wooden board under the wheel for traction. When his wife stepped on the gas, the board flew back slamming into his leg. Chi was rushed to Lutheran's Level I Trauma Center where surgeons spent hours carefully extracting pieces of wood from the wound. He wore a brace with pins in his leg, later a cast, and then underwent extensive rehabilitation. But six months after the accident, the broken bone refused to heal.
"I could not walk, and I could not work," Chi remembers. "I could not play with my kids or help my wife take care of them." So when Thomas R. Lyon, M.D., chief of Orthopedic Trauma, told him about a promising new therapy for bone healing, Chi was cautiously optimistic. Lutheran is one of six sites across the nation involved in a clinical trial that uses stem cell gel made from the patient's own bone marrow to promote healing. The results have been very encouraging, reports Dr. Lyon. All seven patients at Lutheran, including Chi Wai Lam, have healed significantly.
Today, Chi reports that he is back to work and his normal routines, with only minor muscular stiffness to remind him of his ordeal. Orthopedic surgeons are just one component of the fully comprehensive, highly specialized team of physicians who make up the 24-hour response units of the Level I Trauma Center and Emergency Department. Because of the highly specialized care available at Lutheran, ambulances arrive daily with trauma patients from all over Brooklyn.
In addition to trauma-trained orthopedic surgeons, the orthopedic program at Lutheran also offers expertise in reconstruction, spinal disorders, total and partial joint replacements and sports medicine. The nursing staff on both the trauma and orthopedic units have received special clinical training so that these patients receive the advanced care they need 24 hours a day. "The medical center has a genuine commitment to this community," Dr. Lyon says. "And it is a truly unique institution. There aren't many hospitals that attract privately insured patients who come here for voluntary hip replacement while also serving the underserved Medicaid population. They offer the best of all worlds. What you get is cutting-edge work with very personalized, culturally sensitive care to one of the most diverse patient populations anywhere."
For more information or to schedule an appoint call Lutheran Medical Center's Department of Orthopedics at 718-630-7351.