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The First Broken Bone in our Family

Information provided on the blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or offer treatment plans.

[quote]I felt like somebody punched me in the stomach.[/quote]

It’s been almost two years since my daughter broke her arm.  She’s now fine.  Her arm works normally.  I still get a crushing “squeezy hug” from her every night before bed.  She still has a scar from her surgery.  And it turns out, I still feel guilty.

Here’s how it happened.

Ashley was in Kindergarten at the time, and pickup time was three in the afternoon.  I had a short day in the office and finished around two, so I called the family member who usually picks her up  and said that I could get her.

I always enjoy the look on her face when she comes out when I pick her up.

We decided to go back by my office for a snack on the way home, and snacks mean apple juice and a pack of animal crackers from the surgery center next door to my office.  When we finally made it to my office, Ashley was sitting in the chair right behind me eating her crackers and singing.

The next thing I knew, she was on the floor behind me screaming.

I turned around not really sure what I expected to see.  Ashley was on the floor, holding her very crooked arm.

I felt like somebody punched me in the stomach.  It was clearly broken.   I picked her up–because that was my first instinct–and tried to console her, but the pain was too much, so we went down the hall to x-ray.

The results were a little worse than I expected, and I knew right away that Ashley’s arm would need surgery.

Thankfully, I had some Motrin in my desk that she was able to take, and then our next stop was the cast room to get her into a splint and to try and make her more comfortable.

Now I had to call my wife at work.  She left and came over to the office to take Ashley home while I tried to figure out who in the office I could ask to take care of her.

How did this happen?  An hour ago at school she was squeezing me so hard I couldn’t breath, and now, she’s leaving my office in a splint and I’m trying to figure out who’s going to do her operation (because I can’t).

I think it would have been a lot easier if it had been one of my three boys.  Maybe not better, but easier.  She’s my only daughter.  I feel that it’s my obligation to protect her.  And that day I clearly failed.

Accidents happen.  We say it to our children all the time when they spill milk during dinner.  But nobody ever really says that to us as adults.  They do happen.

It’s inevitable.

Our job as parents is to try and protect them and when the inevitable happens, make sure we do what’s necessary to make them better.

I know this is true, I tell it to my patients’ parents all the time, but if you’ve ever been in this situation, you know that it’s nearly impossible to get rid of that lingering, guilty feeling.

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Scott Ferry, MD

I'm a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, a husband, and a father to four children. At the end of the day, my goal is to make people's lives better.


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