Monday, May 06, 2013

Mallet finger

Mallet finger to most people would just be a pain but not a major inconvenience. To a professional violinist, or any professional musician it could be the end of a career. This is the case with my wife, Caroline, a professional violinist with the RSNO.

3 months ago Caroline was out walking our new puppy when she slipped the lead and ran towards the busy main road. Caroline's natural reaction was to try to grab the lead before she reached the road. The result was Caroline having a heavy fall which ruptured the extensor tendon. She took herself to the A&E department of the Western Infirmary to have it X-rayed and to see what the damage was as the top joint of her little finger of the left-hand would not straighten. Diagnosis was Mallet finger, or baseball finger. The treatment was for a splint for six weeks then to be used for a further 3 to 4 weeks at night. One doctor said a 60% chance of the tendon knitting back but the consultant said probably 90% chance as she had come to hospital immediately.

After 7 weeks the splint came off and to our horror the finger was both very swollen and still would not straighten. When the doctor looked at in hospital was "we've done our bit now you will just have to get on with it". Distraught, Caroline's main thought was "is this it? No more playing my violin". The fact is it still might be, we don't know. 

She has since seen a physiotherapist who has referred her onto a consultant physio. She has since met with Caroline and was so horrified at how she has been left to "get on with it" that she has made a splint specially to fit Caroline. Why could they not have done that in the first place? Is it egotism or laziness, or both! The splint is on for a further 8 weeks and then we will see where we are. The good thing is this physio is not giving up! Unlike the doctors at the Western who had given up. 

One other ridiculous situation that has been overcome thanks to another good doctor was a referral to the specialist hand doctor in another hospital. There is a protocol for getting this done but it can be blocked or made difficult. Thankfully there were enough good doctors to get through this process but it's time some of them got off their high horses and thought out the box, putting their patients first and not their own egos.

1 comment:

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