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Orthopaedic Patient Stories

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Alex Burbules Patient Story — Video Transcript

Terry Burbules: "Well I know the day I got the call that every mother has a hard time with: there’s been an accident, come to the hospital."

Alex Burbules: "The driver was actually going pretty fast, about 75, and the car lifted off of the ground and we came back down. We hit potholes and started to fishtail. We flipped over once. I lost consciousness as far as I can remember right before we hit. The back half of the car - all that was left of it pretty much was the backseat and the trunk. I looked down and I saw that my right leg was broken and my left foot was gone."

Jeffrey Nechleba, MD: "I was on trauma call as an orthopaedic surgeon and part of the trauma team. Alex had been in a car accident and he suffered some very severe injuries. He had to have an amputation of his left leg and he also had a very severe open fracture of his right leg. So it’s hard when you see children and teenagers as trauma patients. I’m a father and I have three teenage kids and it always makes me feel a little different when I get a teenager or a kid in that’s been in a bad accident."

Alex: "I was at UPMC Hamot for about six weeks. I was in the ICU for almost three days."

Dr. Nechleba: "We had to do some temporizing fixation of his right leg in order to save that leg. That was my biggest concern actually. It wasn’t the amputated leg, which most people would be worried about, I knew that would heal and that he would do well. It’s the other leg that was able to be saved but he had severe injuries and he’s still rehabbing from that. But we were able to transfer him to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh as part of our overall greater healthcare system. We are very fortunate to have this large network of expertise to rely on in the region including Pittsburgh to be able to help to care for patients like Alex."

Alex: "I almost had a near death experience so just live life to its fullest, be as happy as I can because that’s all there really is to it. Being a positive attitude makes it so much better."

Terry: "I just thank them from the bottom of my heart for saving my son’s life. "