Take me to St. Mark’s Hospital: My doctor is my advocate
Diane Ferguson moves through life on high speed — always running to serve, work and care for others. One evening she flew down the stairs in the dark. Toward the bottom of the staircase, she saw her cat sitting there and figured she was on the last step. She wasn’t. As she fell down the remaining steps, she felt her back shift.
“I was in pain, and for months no one could tell me what it was,” Diane said. “One doctor told me there was no way to do anything. He simply couldn’t fix it. I asked him, ‘Are you telling me I’m going to be crippled for the rest of my life?’ He just stared at me. I walked out of that office with tears streaming down my face.”
Then a friend recommended Diane see Dr. Kade Huntsman, a spine specialist at Salt Lake Orthopedics Clinic at St. Mark’s Hospital.
“There was such a difference between Dr. Huntsman and the first doctor. Dr. Huntsman had empathy and he became my advocate. In today’s sometimes cold world this should be commended … It’s nice to know people still care,” Diane said.
Dr. Huntsman performed a kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure to inject adhesive into a fractured bone. After the procedure and a quick recovery, Diane returned to her full-speed-ahead mode … until a second, all too similar accident occurred.
It happened again, so Dr. Huntsman advocated again.
“I was running down the stairs and, once again, I thought I was on the last step. Can you believe it? This time I landed right on my tailbone — hard. I was in immediate, horrendous pain,” Diane said.
Without hesitation, Diane returned to Dr. Huntsman. He recommended a surgical spinal fusion procedure to repair the fresh fractures in her lower back and tailbone.
“I know back surgery or spine fusion sounds scary, but I felt more than ok about it. Dr. Huntsman showed such kindness, and I was thankful there was something that could be done. This all happened when hospitals were gearing up to pause non-emergency procedures due to COVID, and Dr. Huntsman went above and beyond to make sure I got the surgery I needed when I needed it. He advocated for me again,” Diane said.
Slowing down and holding banisters.
Diane says that life after back surgery looks different than before — in a good way.
“I feel amazing. I’m not in any pain. I’m at the gym, doing the elliptical, lifting weights and walking. I also realize I’m lucky to be upright. So, everything has changed for me. I’m slower. I’m holding on. I’m more conscious,” Diane said.
Diane knows she can receive quality, compassionate care at Salt Lake Orthopedics Clinic and St. Mark’s Hospital, but she’s doing everything she can to prevent further back injuries. To protect herself on the stairs, Diane installed a second banister at her home. She also holds firm to a new life rule: Never run down the stairs. Ever.