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Going the extra mile

Ryan Frett

as told by Stacey Frett

As a cautious mom, I have always steered my athletic 17-year-old son, Ryan, away from contact sports such as football and hockey. I was thrilled when he found his niche in "safe" sports—baseball, swimming and tennis. So, I was shocked when I received a call from the high school athletic trainer reporting that Ryan took a tumble playing tennis and broke both bones in his forearm.

At the Gundersen Lutheran Trauma & Emergency Center (TEC) we were very impressed with the timeliness of Ryan's care and pain management, especially on a busy Friday afternoon. There we also learned that the fractures would require surgical repair.

Prior to this, my son had never experienced so much as a dental cavity, yet here we were, sending him off to surgery. They needed to realign his bones and, using pins and hardware, put his wrist back together. Needless to say, the waiting, while my son had surgery, proved to be long and stressful.

Thankfully, the surgery went smoothly. I credit the coordinated efforts of anesthesiologist Dr. Seuk Kang, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Rumball, surgical nurses Cathy Walth, RN and Debbie Devine, RN, and nameless others who were so reassuring.

The true test of coordinated, compassionate care came, however, after we left the hospital. The regional block in Ryan's arm should provide pain relief for 12-24 hours, we were told. Then he could take oral pain meds as needed.We were surprised when Ryan began to experience excruciating pain only an hour and a half after discharge.

Dr. Brad Fowler, the on-call orthopedic surgeon, recommended that we return to the TEC in La Crosse for IV pain management.With Ryan's extreme pain and traffic congestion at 5:30 p.m., we needed another plan. Dr. Fowler went the extra mile and arranged for Ryan to receive IV pain management in Onalaska Urgent Care—just seven minutes from our home instead of an agonizing 30 minute drive to La Crosse.

Dr. Bruce Kerr and Katie Compton, RN, at the Gundersen Lutheran – Onalaska Clinic were waiting for us when we arrived. The care and compassion they provided was second to none.We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all who took care of Ryan, not because it was their job, but because they truly cared.

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