The Broken Arm that Wasn’t

Posted On: Monday, September 3rd, 2012 at 11:24 am

The scar.

As you may remember, we were able to expedite the process to bring Matthew home because of his broken arm. We were worried about permanent damage and starting physical therapy right away. So we took him in to the doctor 5 days after arriving home. I forgot to post about this visit because it didn’t go as expected, and we couldn’t share right away. But here is the update!

So, what did the world-renowned orthopedic surgeon tell us when she saw his x-rays? “His arm was never broken.” Todd and I were speechless. “We can’t find any break. Even if a break has healed, you should still see it on the x-ray.” Why would they do a major surgery on a little boy, then hospitalize him for 3 solid weeks if his arm was never broken??? I won’t bother to tell you all the things that went through our minds, but we were quite disturbed at this news to say the least. Our poor boy. We chose not to tell him.

The doctor requested his original x-rays done by the hospital in Puyang. Since she was not able to tell why he’d had hardware placed in his arm, she really couldn’t do anything else for us until she saw the originals. So we went home with a mission–get those original x-rays. The surgeon also recommended her lawyer here in China–just in case we wanted to prosecute. Yes, prosecute! Not a word I expected to hear at our appointment. And this is the reason we couldn’t share at first. We really had no idea what the outcome of everything was going to be, legally speaking.

After a couple days we received the original x-rays and took them back to the doctor. Sure enough, no break, BUT a major dislocation. (Very major.) They had put everything back in place and secured it with a long metal plate and 8 screws. Ouch, and phew. Not a fun experience, but at least it wasn’t broken and he will make a full recovery. And no need to worry about a malpractice suit!

Matthew will have surgery in October (6 months after the first surgery) to remove the hardware. The doctor said she would also perform a scar revision to help minimize the “centipede” on his arm. After spending 3 weeks in the hospital for the first surgery, he is a little worried about the second. But we assured him that this would not be the same as that first surgery. He’ll only be there for a few days at most, and he certainly won’t be alone. His next biggest concern is missing those few days of school. He even asked our Chinese tutor if she would come to the hospital to give him his lessons! Gotta love that boy. :)

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