Eric, in mask, back at work
Eric, pictured in a clinic at Altum Health Mississauga, sustained an amputation to the tips of his long, ring and small fingers following a workplace accident in June. He’s now returning to work for about three hours before coming in for his therapy sessions. (Photo: Courtesy Eric)

It was the type of injury that had him fearing the worst.

"My career is over," Eric thought after a workplace accident this past June. A woodworker, he was using a shaper blade when the piece of wood he was shaping kicked back, moving his fingers into the blade. The result was the amputation of the tips of his long, ring and small fingers, and fractures in the small and ring fingers.

Suddenly, Eric, who asked that his last name not be used for this story, found his ability to continue making a living as a woodworker in doubt. He also feared it would be the end of his favourite recreational pastimes of rock climbing and wood carving.

But the care team at UHN's Altum Health in Mississauga offered reassurance. They told him that with the right care and hard work he would be able to return to work and his other activities.

That was great news but over the next several weeks of therapy sessions, the healing was difficult and slow. Eric refused to give up and continued to work hard at getting his hand function restored.

Finding the confidence to recover

With the care plan and direction of Altum Mississauga's Dr. Herb Von Schroeder and occupational therapist Kendal Dickinson, Eric soon noted a major improvement in his hand. And, the clinic team assured him he could expect about 90 per cent of his previous function to return, and that it would be safe for him to return to all work and recreational activity he was engaging in before the accident.

Today, Eric has made great progress with his treatment at Altum Health. He has returned to all previous work activities. And, he's now in training to return to rock climbing, having used his skills as a woodworker to construct his own "hangboard" to improve his hand and finger grip strength.

Eric recalls feeling relieved by the message provided by his Altum Health Care Team. It gave him the confidence to begin immediately working on the recovery and rehabilitation of his hand.

"I'm stoked," Eric says. "The time and effort put into my recovery has paid off."

The emphasis on progressive and challenging exercise was key to Eric's success. A focused prescription of functional strengthening completed the road map to his recovery.

"I came here and was asked to push," he says. "And, I saw a bigger return on the effort."


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