Providing Comfort and Care in Times of Emergency [Dean Kattelmann]
I'm Dean Kattelmann. I'm from Brookings, South Dakota. I'm retired now. I enjoy hunting and fishing, playing quite a bit of golf.
What brought you to Brookings Health System's ER?
I was working in the shop and I was driving in screws with a power drill and I hit my hand and I took my middle finger off. It was detached at the knuckle, it was only held together by the tendons. And I called the emergency room and I said, "I've lost my finger." And their question was, "Do you have it with you?" And I said, "Yes. It's barely attached."
What happened when you and your wife arrived at the ER?
I was met at the door, immediately she dropped me off at the door to go park the car and they escorted me back into the emergency room. And in the meantime, they'd already called an orthopedic surgeon. So, I got into the emergency room. They said, "Do you feel anything?" I said, "What do you mean?" Because they were pinching on my finger and my finger had turned. The finger had turned completely around, so it pinched the nerve and the blood to the fingertip. I was resolved to the fact that I was going to lose my finger. And so, I went in and I had a really great meeting with the emergency nurse, staff. They welcomed me, they tried to relieve any pain. They explained to me what was probably going to happen. And so, it was a very good experience. I was really impressed with how they took me in. There were some people waiting to get in there, but they immediately took me in ahead of a few other people as they determined it was an emergency.
What happened during surgery?
Once they got in there and repositioned the finger, popped it back into place to amputate it, they noticed that the fingernail was getting a little bit of blood to it. And so, they called my wife and said, "We'd like to see if we can save the finger. It won't be any different tomorrow than it is today, but we'd like to see if we could save the finger." And of course she said, "Yes, please do." And I was unaware of any of this, of course. And so, they repositioned it, reattached it, braced it, and said, "Come back tomorrow morning." And of course, my hand was all bandaged up and everything. They said, "We think we might be able to save your finger. We'll know in 12 hours." I came back into the emergency room, saw the orthopedic surgeon. He looked at it, took off the bandages and said, "Yeah, I think we might be okay."
How did the staff include your wife?
They just kind of explained to her what the procedures were, made sure that she understood that I may not have fully understood, but they made sure that we knew what was going to happen and the procedures that they were going to do and the process.
How is your recovery?
Well, my recovery was very good. I mean, they gave me some pain medicine, which I took a little bit. They gave me some swelling medicine for the finger, and then they just basically put me on therapy. And about three weeks later, I had a little bit of movement in the finger, they'd put a brace on it to pull the tension down to stretch it. And then they did it for, it took about six weeks and I had about 90% recovery. And it took about probably 12 weeks, I had 95, 100% recovery. So, I'm lucky the fingers working fine now.
Why was it important to have emergency care close to home?
It's very important to have local facilities available. And we're lucky to have a surgeon that was on call that could come in to help take care of the procedures. I'm not sure if you know we lived further out, you know, 30 minutes, would definitely have made a difference, I probably wouldn't have the finger.
What did you appreciate most?
I think that they provided us a warm feeling. They made you feel comfortable. They didn't panic, they just sort of went through the motions and really made it a relaxed atmosphere.
Why do you recommend Brookings Health System?
I think that they need to know that it's here, that they are a caring and they have the quality people. They have professionals, well trained professionals. It's not as it was 25 years ago when we came to town. You know, it's a young, very up-to-date, very professional organization.
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