It Takes Two: Optim Physicians Collaborate to Bring a Patient Back to The Job He Loves
Skip Milton is a troubleman for Georgia Power, where he has worked for the past 28 years to repair electric lines and outages. He lives outside of Baxley with his wife and has always enjoyed riding his motorcycle in the area, including to work and on charity rides with his wife. However, a few years ago, Skip was in a motorcycle accident that left him wondering if he’d ever be able to work again.
One night in 2011, Skip was riding his motorcycle back from work at the Vidalia headquarters of Georgia Power when he lost control of his motorcycle and drove straight into an oncoming pickup. He was rushed to the Meadows Regional Medical Center emergency room and then transferred to the Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. In addition to having all of his teeth knocked out, he had sustained a fractured pelvis, broken jaw and split sacrum.
Skip was in the intensive care unit (ICU) for a week and underwent jaw surgery. His injuries were so extensive, he began to apply for Georgia Power’s retirement program, thinking he wouldn’t be able to go back to his job where he worked in a bucket truck and often had to lift as much as 150 lbs. Once Skip was able to leave the hospital, he still had to stay in a hospital bed in his home and receive care from a nurse. He continued to struggle with severe pain, so his wife decided to find a doctor who may be able to help further. That search ended with her finding Optim Orthopedics.
Edward J. Whelan, III, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Optim, was the first physician at Optim to see Skip and was the first to identify that he had split his sacrum, the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine. Dr. Whelan then referred Skip to Optim Pain Management, who treated Skip for his pain with injections and therapy, including several innovative procedures to remove damaged nerves. After some time, the specialists at Pain Management realized that Skip was having circulation problems from his waist down and they referred him to John D. McCormick, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the spine. Skip was initially hesitant, but eventually decided that spine surgery offered the best opportunity to reduce his pain. He followed through with the procedure and is now almost free of any pain or physical limitations.
Skip healed quickly thanks to the attention and collaboration of Dr. Whelan, Dr. McCormick and Optim Pain Management. In less than six months, he was able to progress from the hospital bed to a wheelchair, to a walker and then a walking stick. Now, about three years after the accident, Skip can walk unaided and has been able to go back to working full-time at the job he has enjoyed for so many years. It has been a long road to recovery for Skip, but he is confident he would not be where he is today without the support of Optim and these three physicians.