Published on April 28, 2022

Dr. Anton Kurtz and Patient Barbara Ruedig

Dr. Anton Kurtz and Barbara Ruedig

Being in Expert Hands Matters

Barbara's Story

When Barbara Ruedig of Concord had an accident in the autumn of 2021, she learned first-hand about the value of the long-term collaboration between the Hospital and Concord Orthopaedics, PA (COPA). 

As Barbara reached for a light switch from a ladder to a bedroom loft, the ladder slid on the hardwood floor and collapsed. Barbara broke her femur, or thigh bone, the strongest and longest bone in the body.

Barbara soon was in the Hospital’s ED.

She remembers a flurry of activity as the ED team led by Dr. Lon Setnik evaluated her injury and worked to make her comfortable: a nurse removing her earrings for safe-keeping, a radiology technologist taking X-rays with a portable X-ray machine to avoid having to move her and a member of the team carefully putting her leg in traction to immobilize the broken bone.

“That was so good,” Barbara said. “Any little motion was excruciating and I was in terror because I was afraid of how much it would hurt. But, because it was done very, very slowly and with such care, I was amazed that it didn’t hurt.”

Later in the day, Barbara met COPA trauma specialist Dr. Anton Kurtz and learned that they lived a few doors away from each other. They had not met because the Kurtz family moved in at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which did not allow for cordial visits between new neighbors.

Throughout her treatment, recovery and rehabilitation, Barbara said everyone involved patiently answered her questions, explained her options and showed sincere concern about her condition.

Their attention included international contact between Dr. Kurtz and COPA colleague, Dr. Stephen Fox, who had replaced Barbara’s knee earlier in the year. Barbara was concerned the injury might have damaged her knee. Her husband, Michael, texted Dr. Fox, who was on vacation. Dr. Kurtz then consulted with his colleague.

“We describe these as periprosthetic fractures, and they require special attention and techniques to avoid problems with the joint replacement,” Dr. Kurtz said. “Having orthopaedic trauma specialists as well as joint replacement specialists communicating and on the same team is critical to a successful outcome.”

Also, before the surgery, anesthesiologist Dr. Fathi Bashir and Registered Nurse Anesthetist Brendan Murphy thoroughly explained Barbara’s anesthesia options.

Dr. Kurtz inserted a titanium rod in Barbara’s broken femur, and after two days of recovery in the Hospital, she was discharged, using a walker. She has received follow-up care from another Hospital partner, Granite VNA, and effective rehabilitation through physical therapist Sarah Eberhart at Concord Hospital Rehabilitation Services.

Dr. Kurtz said the community benefits from the partnership between the Hospital and COPA, which provides for round-the-clock, state-of-the-art care to patients who need expert orthopaedic trauma surgery.

“We can rely on excellence from the OR staff, nurses, anesthesia group, hospitalists, physical therapists and others at every point in the patient’s journey from the ED through surgery, recovery, rehab and beyond,” he said.