Challenges of Workers Compensation Patients for Reconstructive Hand Surgeons
The Worker’s Compensation patient presents a unique challenge to the reconstructive hand surgeon. Management of this specific type of patient entails a comprehensive team approach. First, the hand surgeon must be tremendously experienced in the care of complex traumatic hand injuries, often of a mutilating nature, requiring replantation and revascularization be it of the thumb, fingers, hand or even upper arm. Following optimal surgery, the functional result is dependent upon factors beyond the surgery. The very best surgery will not compensate for limited postoperative care. It is critical that the patient come under the care of the occupational therapist. This is usually a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) who has specific training in care of these complex injuries. Compliance with a rigorous hand therapy protocol is critical to obtaining the optimal functional result. Achieving the very best functional result will hopefully allow the patient the opportunity to get back to his former occupation and/or avocation. Additionally, clear and continual communication with the nurse case manager, rehabilitation nurse, employer and insurance company facilitates this patient’s follow-up care.
Workers Compensation Patients at the Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery & Rehabilitation
At The Chicago Institute for Hand Surgery & Rehabilitation, Dr. Norman Weinzweig coordinated the care of Worker’s Compensation patients, ranging from those with relatively minor injuries, such as crush injuries to the fingertips, to multiple digit replantations and revascularizations as well as care of the mutilated hand. In fact, Dr. Weinzweig co-edited the text THE MUTILATED HAND which deals specifically with management of complex industrial type injuries. While Dr. Norman Weinzweig covers the entire gamut of hand problems, both non-surgical and surgical, his specific niche within the realm of hand surgery is care of the mutilated hand.
Dr. Weinzweig has treated thousands of patients over the past 27 years with a wide range of traumatic injuries, both in the acute traumatic setting as well as in the delayed setting. Patients are referred to Dr. Norman Weinzweig from other hand surgeons in Chicago, the Midwest, other parts of the country and even internationally. Dr. Weinzweig often treats patients for sequelae and complications of these injuries, often with excellent results. Patients will present with stiff, functionless hands and within months are using their hand for the activities of daily living and at the workplace.