Mike’s Story: Coordinated Care Saves a Life

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After Franklin firefighter/EMT Mike Diehl sustained a devastating arm injury on the job, he was brought to Miami Valley Hospital as a trauma patient.

Mike’s arm became trapped and impaled between an ambulance and a wall while he was guiding an ambulance against a building.

“It was a severe crush injury … often referred to as a degloving injury,” said John Matsuura, MD, chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery, Wright State Physicians.

Mike was taken immediately to Atrium Medical Center’s Level III trauma center, where it was decided quickly to transfer him to Miami Valley Hospital’s trauma center. Dr. Matsuura and other medical personnel were ready to get to work when Mike arrived.

Mary Ann Baker, Mike’s fiancé, said the surgery was nine hours with efforts including trying to reestablish blood flow to his hand. He would end up in the hospital for 41 days and undergo nine surgeries.

Dr. Matsuura said the surgeons worked to control the injury while notifying the plastic surgery team of the patient’s pending needs.

“We take care of you here at Miami Valley Hospital and we do have the specialties to take care of any injury, whether it’s your brain, whether it’s your extremities, whether it’s an injury to an organ in your body, we have the right surgeons and staff to care for you,” Dr. Matsuura said.

“The first thing I remember after the surgery was I woke up and I wasn’t completely awake but I woke up just enough to know that I was intubated and I tried to take the tube out,” Mike said.

Dr. Matsuura said the key was to see if there was a way to maintain function and flow in the arm to give Mike a fighting chance. “There’s no question in my mind Miami Valley Hospital gave that young man a fighting chance,” he said.

Mike’s arm later was amputated after he was given two options: to fuse his elbow in a locked position, leaving little hand function, or to amputate and wear a prosthetic.

“Living the Lifestyle I Had Before’

“With modern technology and the steps and progress they’ve made in the field of prosthetics, I felt it was the better option for me and my active lifestyle to amputate and go with the prosthetic,” he said. “Ultimately for me, I want to get back to living the lifestyle that I had before.”

Mike said he was into fitness, played semi-pro football, fought mixed martial arts and was a bouncer at a bar.

“Besides saving my life and doing everything they could to save my arm, they treated me like a human being. They just didn’t treat me like a broken machine,” Mike said of the people at Miami Valley. 

“I had nurses that took the time out of their day to take me outside when I had been locked up basically in a prison for a month and a half,” Mike said. “And they took the time out of their day to just let me go outside and see some sunshine and get some fresh air. And, they took care of me like family.”

John H. Matsuura, MD, FACS

John H. Matsuura, MD, FACS

Premier Vascular Surgeons

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