I was in a car accident on July 17, 2011 and suffered multiple bone fractures, internal damage, and a brachial plexus injury leaving my entire right arm limp and useless. My original neurosurgeon at Hershey Medical Center in PA deemed me inoperable. That's when I continued my search for other surgeons and found Dr. Scott Wolfe at HSS. I met with him the September after my accident. He took lots of tests and gathered a ton of information in regards to the severity of my brachial plexus. Once he completed his tests, he knew exactly what he had to do and he hit the ground running. That following December, Dr. Wolfe took nerves from my left calf and transplanted them into my right shoulder and upper rib area, tying the nerves into my intercostals. The operation took about 13 hours total. When I woke up is when the hard work began. For the next 5 years I would work out, do cardio exercises, and try to train my brain to understand that the nerves operating my arm/hand are now in my shoulder and no longer in my leg. In those 5 years I have gained a ton of shoulder and elbow movement and functionality. But, unfortunately, my wrist and hand were still limp. Being 23 at that time, I saw a lot of life in front of me. I wasn't about to live the next 50 years with a hand that didn't work. So I made the decision to call Dr. Wolfe and request he amputate my right hand. He was very understanding and proud that I was able to make this decision on my own. So in February of 2016 he performed the amputation. Ever since that day I haven't looked back. His team of prostheticians at Eschen Prosthetics manufactured a state-of-the-art prosthetic hand for me to use. There are electrodes inside that pick up on my nerve signals that activate the hand. It's honestly the craziest experience of my life. A robotic hand. I feel like I'm straight out of Star Wars hahaha. And even my life without having the prosthetic on has improved. I play rugby and basketball again. I can swim laps in a pool again. My need to be alert 24/7 has gone away because I don't need to worry about injuring a hand that I cant feel or use.
All in all, my quality of life has improved in a multitude of ways ever since I became Dr. Wolfe's patient. It's been a wild journey but I can't thank him and his team enough for the work they've done. I would advise anyone in a similar position to the one I was in, to contact Dr. Wolfe's office and get his opinion on things. The man is nothing short of a genius in his field.
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