Michael's brave journey after injury

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

By: Betsy Hansen

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In the summer of 2012, a traumatic injury left Michael with a spinal cord injury, fractured leg and wrist. The accident happened in the Czech Republic, where Michael was teaching English. “While they fixed my spine, they didn’t do anything to fix my wrist or my leg.” After three months in a Czech Republic hospital, Michael came back to the U.S. to recover and rehabilitate.


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“In October 2013, I still had a deformed leg, although I had a device to help me sort of walk, I had a lot of problems with pressure sores,” Michael explained.


Many doctors urged him to amputate his leg.


Michael was bound to a wheelchair for two and a half years prior to meeting Dr. Chad DeNamur and Dr. Jason George DeVries – two foot and ankle surgeons at BayCare Clinic. “On and off, I would try to walk and I would get a pressure sore and be back in the wheelchair,” Michael explained. Despite these setbacks, Michael carried on with his determination to preserve his leg.


Treatment for pressure sores


A pressure sore initially brought him to Dr. DeNamur. After treatment, Dr. DeNamur said it was clear he would have issues down the road if he didn’t address the problems with his foot. That’s when he was referred to Dr. DeVries.


Ankle fusion with Dr. DeVries


An ankle fusion brings the ankle back to a neutral position – allowing Michael to walk properly and prevent hip problems and further pressure sores. Michael will not need any more surgeries and is happy to be walking full-time. “Being back on my feet again, I feel like I’m ten years younger.”


Michael appreciated that Dr. DeNamur and Dr. DeVries worked together to take care of him, and subsequently preserve his leg. “Between the two of them, they gave me my life back,” Michael said.


Life after multiple surgeries


Michael can now live a life with more freedom. Some of the highlights of his recovery include being able to easily walk across grass, enjoy the rides at Bay Beach, and even cooking dinner has become more comfortable and enjoyable.


“They didn’t have to take on my case – my case was really complex. At BayCare, it has been completely unexpected. They not only take care of you, but they treat you like a person. They really make you feel like you have a whole cheerleading squad behind you.”


Watch Michael’s story here.



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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.