Injured to Empowered is a celebration of injured workers who have risen above their injuries. These individuals are an inspiration to injured workers everywhere that there is life after injury. They also serve as a reminder to the workers’ compensation industry – at the heart of everything we do are individuals who need our support to return, as close as possible, to the life they love. When all of the healthcare partners come together, we are able to provide the right care at the right time, leading to the best possible outcomes. We are privileged to play a vital role in these journeys.
Life can change in an instant. Without notice, a normal day can suddenly become a turning point. This was the case for Bobby, a 27-year-old from Indiana who was an industrial maintenance engineer intern at a machining manufacturer in December 2018.
Like any other day, Bobby went to polish a part in a lathe, something he had done hundreds of times before. While polishing it, his left, dominant hand got caught by the part and wrapped around the lathe. Before he could even realize what was happening, the lathe had severed his limb. Bobby pulled back, and looked down – his entire hand was gone.
Bobby was rushed to the hospital where he received the critical care he needed. While that happened, the other healthcare partners in Bobby’s story sprang into action. The claims handler and nurse case manager from Accident Fund Insurance Company of America recognized the complex needs Bobby’s injury would require and proactively engaged their vendor partner, One Call, who worked to coordinate care and ensure Bobby was quickly put in touch with the best provider possible – SRT Prosthetics & Orthotics. The goal of the nurse case manager was to provide early, holistic care through the One Call® CarePathTM Amputation PathwaySM program. This would produce the best outcomes and get Bobby back – as close as possible – to the life he loved.
Brooke, an occupational therapist with SRT’s upper extremity team, met Bobby at the hospital where she worked to ease Bobby’s mind about the future. Bobby had lost his left limb, from just below his elbow. However, life was far from over, and Brooke proved that by sharing other amputees’ stories with him.
While at the hospital, Bobby received an outpouring of support from his family, friends and co-workers. The head of his company even paid him a visit to reassure him he would always have a job, no matter how long it took him to recover. Bobby said this was a turning point. With that knowledge, he was able to have a positive mindset and work toward a goal.
Once Bobby left the hospital, Brooke from SRT was Bobby’s trusted partner. “Whatever she thought was best for me, I knew would be best,” said Bobby.
On March 5, 2019, Bobby was fitted for two sets of prostheses – body-powered and myoelectric. He considered these his “new tools” and was ready to embrace the challenge of mastering the different attachments. “You know a hammer is for driving nails. These tools do not have a defined purpose. I have to try to figure out when to use a certain prosthesis,” said Bobby. He has already figured out that the myoelectric set is better for basic life tasks, whereas the body-powered set offers more grip strength and control.
Bobby is relearning how to do everything – either with his new prostheses or with his non-dominant hand. Everything from brushing his teeth to taking a shower requires a new learned routine. It is taking patience to get back to the things he loves to do, like bowling, lifting weights, working on his truck and riding his motorcycle.
At first, Bobby felt he had lost his identity, but with the help of his new prostheses, he is realizing he can still do all the things he loves to do. “I’m still the same guy,” said Bobby.
With a positive attitude, Bobby is working toward his life goals. He graduated in May 2019 and returned to work in July 2019 - ahead of his projected return to work timeline. His ultimate goal is to design prostheses with more functionality for amputees with similar injuries.
Bobby’s story is a true testament to the resilience and adaptability of human beings. While life is full of twists and turns, with the right partners, support system, and mindset, it always seems to work out, just as it should.
Thank you to our partners, Accident Fund and SRT Prosthetics, and the countless individuals who have played a vital role in Bobby’s success.