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Elise’s story: The right team at the right time

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Seven-year-old Elise Rose fell off the monkey bars.

Her left wrist swelled up immediately. Tears welled up, too.

Elise’s mom brought her to Urgent Care Plus at the Aurora BayCare Health Center in Kaukauna.

“She was pretty hurt and crying, and she never cries. This child never cries,” Elise’s mom told Dr. Kerry Ahrens, a BayCare Clinic emergency physician.

Those tears didn’t last long, especially after Elise saw that Ahrens – a family friend – was her doctor.

“It was very comfortable because I know her,” Elise said.

“She’s such a great kid. She’s very tough,” Ahrens said of Elise. “And so she was like, ‘Yep, let’s just get an X-ray’ and walked in. This child is not afraid of anything.”

The X-ray revealed two broken bones in Elise’s left wrist.

“Typically, we need to do surgery to line them up appropriately,” Ahrens said. “But for her, we just put a little splint on her, which is what we typically do when you have a broken bone because you have a lot of swelling that happens afterwards.”

Her work completed, Ahrens referred Elise for continuing care from Dr. Brian J. Klika, a fellowship-trained hand surgeon with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic in the same building in Kaukauna.

“She had distal radius and ulnar fractures of the wrist region,” Klika said. “Initially, we felt we’d be able to treat that with casting or immobilization,” so Elise went from wearing a splint to wearing a cast.

But during a follow-up visit, Klika quickly saw that Elise’s wrist fracture wasn’t healing properly. It had shifted from its intended position.

Wrist surgery scar on young girls arm

That meant surgery

“We were able to get at the fracture before it healed. We were able to get it into an anatomic position. We placed a small plate and screws that helped it hold into position at that point,” Klika said.

“Eventually, after it was healed and we had an appropriate recovery time, we went in for a second procedure just to remove that plate and screws.”

Fast forward past that, and Elise experienced “an excellent result,” Klika said. “She’s doing quite well.”

How well?

We asked Elise – now healed – what she’s looking forward to.

“The monkey bars.”

Dr Ahrens w young girl patient in an exam room

Published: Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Author: Jeff Ash