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  • Patient: Patti
  • Category: Trauma & Fracture

“ My doctor was unbelievably good – very professional, knowledgeable, a good listener and compassionate”

On a sunny Southern California afternoon while playing mixed doubles tennis, Patti Markowitz backpedaled for an overhead lob, stumbled and came crashing down. She held out her left hand to break her fall, only to break her wrist.

“I remember looking down and seeing my wrist was shaped like an ‘S,’” says the Huntington Beach homemaker and community volunteer. Her husband, Mort, pulled up the car and whisked Patti off to the Hoag Hospital Newport Beach emergency room.

“They ER staff took care of me right away, and made sure I wasn’t hurting,” she recalls. “They took X-rays, bandaged my wrist, and suggested I consult with a hand specialist.”

The next day, sporting a wrist that could no longer bend, Patti visited an HOI orthopedic surgeon skilled in the latest surgical techniques for hand and wrist fractures. The future use of her left hand was now in his hands.

“My doctor was unbelievably good – very professional, knowledgeable, a good listener and compassionate,” says Patti. “Unlike some other doctors I’ve seen, he wasn’t talking to us while backing out the door. He showed me my X-rays on a computer, explained what had happened, and told us how he could fix it.”

The following day Patty underwent outpatient surgery, receiving a plate and pins in her wrist. She recalls, “Everyone at HOI’s surgery center was wonderful and the nurses were the nicest ever. They brought me a fluffy white pillow for my arm and warm blankets. The entire institute is run amazingly well. I received the best care there is!”

Healing took time. Even though she is right-handed and broke her left wrist, activities she’d taken for granted like washing her own hair, driving, cutting her own food or opening a jar became impossible. She didn’t have the hand strength to clip pants onto hangers at the Assistance League of Huntington Beach Thrift Shop where she was an active volunteer. Lifting the cooler for her Meals on Wheels delivery was no longer an option.

Patti wore a cast for a couple months. Once it came off she attended 52 therapy sessions. Gradually she began to regain strength and flexibility in her wrist, but fear of falling again kept her from playing tennis for nearly two years.

“I have played tennis on and off for nearly 40 years, and it’s the only physical activity I enjoy,” says Patti. “When Mort and I finally started hitting baby shots, I was tentative, but also realized how much I’d missed my sport.

“Now, my wrist functions just fine and I play tennis every week with lady friends,” says Patti. She is also back to helping run the thrift shop and delivering meals to the elderly.

“My left wrist is slightly larger than my right, and it’s still a challenge to hold or squeeze small items. I set off the metal detector when I go to a baseball game at Anaheim Stadium. But my doctor says that my wrist is stronger than it’s ever been because of my plate.”

Patti adds, “My husband has also received excellent care for a rotator cuff injury due to a fall playing tennis, and sees a specialist with HOI to help with back pain. These aren’t pleasant things to have happen, but I’m so grateful we have the highest level of care nearby with Hoag Orthopedic Institute.”