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Chicago Police Officer back on the streets after traumatic motorcycle accident
Early one summer morning in 2018, then 26-year-old Chicago Police Officer Ryan Halvorsen was riding his motorcycle home after a shift on Chicago’s west side. He was traveling on Sacramento Avenue in Chicagowhen he was struck by a car, changing the course of the next year of his life.
“After I came to a stop, the first thing I thought was ‘am I paralyzed?’” Halvorsen said. “I was able to wiggle my toes but couldn’t feel my leg or look down for fear of what I would see.”
He was rushed to Stroger Cook County hospital where doctors identified the extent of his injuries. Halvorsen’s tibia (shin bone) was broken and protruding from the skin. His femur (thigh bone) was also completely broken, and his hip was dislocated and fractured.
Once stabilized, Halvorsen developed other complications, including blood clots in his lungs and damage to his intestines. He was placed on a ventilator and in an induced coma for a week. At this point, his limb and his life were both in jeopardy.
Later, friends told him that hundreds of sergeants and officers visited him at the hospital during that time. His parents and girlfriend stayed by his side.
Once Halvorsenwas taken off the ventilator and his health improved,doctors were able to perform surgeriesto remove a portion of his intestines and fix his fractures. Halvorsen had an outstanding orthopaedic team which first fixed his tibia and femur fractures. His hip injury included a complicated femoral head fracture-dislocation that was treated by Dr. Joel Williams, an orthopaedic trauma and hip specialist at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.
“Treatment of his femoral head fracture required a procedure called a surgical hip dislocation in order to access the inside of his hip joint,” explained Dr. Williams. “Once I could visualize the inside of the joint, the femoral head fracture was fixed with specialized screws and then the soft tissue from the dislocation was repaired.”
Halvorsen’s hip injury was treated using a specialized technique that is primarily used for hip preservation procedures. Having a hip specialist like Dr. Williams, who has a unique hip skill set that included trauma, preservation and reconstruction, was crucial to Halvorsen’s excellent outcome.
The surgery lasted approximately 3-4 hours and successfully positioned Halvorsen for a one-year rehabilitation program and a goal to return to work. His surgeries allowed him to complete his physical therapy milestones.
At the one-year mark, he returned as a member of the Chicago Police Department tactical team. Today, he is mostly pain-free and is building back up his ability to run. He admits, “I’m glad to be back at work but my days of chasing people down is probably over.”
“After my surgery with Dr. Williams, I just wanted to be able to move fast enough to help someone who needed it,” Halvorsen explained. “I knew I would eventually get there with his help and my determination to work toward that goal.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Joel Williams, call 877.MD.BONES or visit www.rushortho.com.
Hip specialists partner to correct an adult’s painful hip problems
Shortly after she was born, Erin Roark, 37, of Valparaiso, IN, was diagnosed with a birth defect called hip dysplasia during a routine well-baby visit. This is a condition in which the femoral head (ball) of the hip joint does not fit properly into the acetabulum (socket). Hip dysplasia affects approximately 2-3 children per thousand but is four times more common in girls than in boys.
Her pediatrician prescribed soft braces which today is still the most common first line of defense to help babies’ hips develop normally.
However, as Roark grew and she became active in sports like swimming, gymnastics, and dance, she began to hear a ‘clicking’ which escalated into hip discomfort and pain. Over time, it became hard to play sports, so she went to see a local orthopedic physician.
“He confirmed that my dysplasia was the problem and predicted that I would need two hip replacements before I was 40,” she explained. “At that point in my life, 40 seemed like 1,000 years away.”
Roark learned to live with the pain and gradually developed a limp. Time went on.
Finding a hip specialist
At age 35, while working at home, she experienced pain in her hips which caused her to faint. Scared, she contacted a local orthopedic physician once again. “He basically told me to come back when I couldn’t walk,” Roark said. “That wasn’t OK with me, so I started doing research.”
She joined hip support groups on social media and asked group members what Chicago area doctors they recommended. She learned about Dr. Shane Nho, a Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush hip preservation surgeon, a well-known expert in hip arthroscopy, hip labral tears, and a hip deformity called femoral acetabular impingement (FAI).
“When I saw the extent of her condition on an MRI, I pulled in my partner Dr. Williams so that we could blend our skills to give her the best outcome,” explained Dr. Nho.
Dr. Joel Williams is a specialist in both hip surgery and orthopedic trauma. He has a comprehensive skill set which includes a procedure called a periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) to treat hip dysplasia. With Dr. Nho correcting Roark’s labral tears and Dr. Williams correcting her hip dysplasia, they were confident they could treat her multiple conditions without hip replacements at this stage in her life.
An expert surgical team
Roark underwent four surgeries. First, Dr. Nho performed a hip arthroscopy on her left hip to her repair labral tears and FAI, then two weeks later Dr. Williams performed a PAO on the same hip. Ten months later, the physician team performed the same surgeries on her right hip. “I was mentally ready to get this done,” Roark explained.
Post-surgery, she performed physical therapy for four months on each side.
“She was older than most patients who undergo this type of surgery, but she has had no complications or issues,” Dr. Williams said. “I’m really enthusiastic about how well she is doing.”
“I have no regrets,” she said. “I am mostly pain-free now, and I hopefully will not need hip replacement surgeries down the road when I am older.”
Today, Roark is happily working out after ten years of inactivity. She participates in barre classes, swims, and is looking forward to backpacking with her husband.
To schedule an appointment to discuss your hip condition with Dr. Shane Nho or Dr. Joel Williams, call 877.MD.BONES or visit www.rushortho.com.
Back to Skiing after Fractured Hip
Jason Nicolai, 40, is an avid water-skier and active father of two. His summer weekends are typically spent behind a boat, showing off new ski tricks for friends and family. So, when he fell while trick skiing at the family lake house recently, he worried about what this meant for summers to come.
Paramedics took Nicolai to a local hospital where the emergency department doctor diagnosed him with a broken hip. The ER physician told him that there was no question: he needed a new hip. Nicolai and his wife were in complete shock. How could someone who was young, healthy, and thrived on being active return to a normal lifestyle following a hip replacement?
A local trauma doctor gave him another option: pin the hip to see if it would heal that way. The doctor gave Nicolai a 70% chance of full recovery, so Nicolai ran with that percentage. The ensuing surgery seemed to go well, and Nicolai did what he was told and stayed off his feet for 12 weeks.
Unfortunately, after all that time, Nicolai was still in pain. The hip fracture wasn’t healing.
Nicolai and his wife met with a few more doctors to talk about options to alleviate the pain once and for all. Upon advice from friends and family, one of those doctors was Dr. Joel Williams, a trauma and hip specialist at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush.
During a consultation, Dr. Williams spent two hours with the Nicolais explaining the options. The first option discussed was a revision surgery called a valgus intertrochanteric osteotomy. The second option was a total hip replacement. After some thought, they decided to go with a hip replacement by Dr. Williams. They immediately trusted him and felt he was the best choice to perform the procedure.
With the operation on the calendar, they went off on a pre-surgery vacation. Back in Chicago, Dr. Williams was methodically going over Nicolai’s images and his surgical plan. After further contemplating Nicolai’s condition, Dr. Williams considered a third option. He suggested forgoing the hip replacement and instead revising the screws from the original surgery.
When Nicolai returned from vacation, Dr. Williams carefully explained his recommendation. Dr. Williams’ confidence and dedication to the case impressed Nicolai and he agreed to the new plan.
Shortly thereafter, Nicolai underwent the surgery and immediately felt a difference. He completed a course of rehab and went back to work, counting down the days until summer when he could visit the lake house again. Even though he knew it was too soon to water ski, he was able to be active in other ways.
Once summer rolled around, Nicolai was in his element out on the water. He was even doing tricks on a ski disk rather than water skis. And, just a few months post-surgery (and one year after his injury), Nicolai was barefoot skiing again... a long way from sitting in the hospital convinced he may never ski again.
The Nicolai family is adamant about one thing-- the best decision they ever made was to meet Dr. Williams. Nicolai had already seen an orthopaedic traumatologist that recommended a revision fixation surgery but could not comment on replacement. He had also seen a joint replacement surgeon that recommended a hip replacement but could not comment on revision surgery options. Dr. Williams’ comprehensive skill set that encompasses all hip conditions including trauma, preservation and replacement allowed for a full conversation about Nicolai’s options. They claim that without Dr. Williams’ dedication to Nicolai’s case and his surgical skills, Nicolai may have been stuck on the couch, simply watching others perform the tricks he used to do.
To discuss your hip pain, or if you are suffering from a traumatic orthopedic injury, call 877-MD-BONES or visit www.drjoelwilliams.com to schedule an appointment with Dr. Joel Williams.
Dr. Williams Repairs Failed Surgery and Gives Patient Back Her Active Life
Marge Kessler, 74, of Ingraham, IL, is a self-described ‘country girl.’ Raised on a dairy farm, she discovered her passion for driving tractors at age 12 when her father simply needed an extra hand to work the farm.
Early in her marriage, she began driving a tractor on the downstate Illinois hog farm she ran with her husband. Since then, Marge has spent much of her adult life working the farm while caring for their four children.
“I love being outdoors and driving a tractor gives me a great, useful reason to do so,” she explains.
Marge’s contribution to farm life continued smoothly until last year when a fall ended badly.
“I was fasting for a health screening and experienced vertigo which caused me to fall,” Marge says. “I had pain in my thigh bone and went by ambulance to the local hospital.”
Doctors there determined that she had broken her femur (thigh bone) and treated it by setting the bone and implanting a rod for stability. She was sent home for rest and eight weeks of physical therapy.
However, after her rehabilitation, she was walking up a stair at home when she heard a distinct ‘pop’ come from the top of her leg near her hip. An xray revealed that the reason for the mysterious sound was that the rod in her femur had broken. It also showed that her femur was crooked and the bone break had not healed.
Realizing that Marge’s situation was very complicated and risky, her daughter researched the best orthopedic trauma surgeons in the Chicago area. She discovered Dr. Joel Williams at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. After an immediate appointment was arranged, Marge traveled by ambulance to meet Dr. Williams at Rush University Medical Center.
After reviewing Marge’s xrays carefully, Dr. Williams reassured her that he would properly treat her fracture.
“When we shook hands, he looked me in the eye and said ‘you’re going to be just fine.’ I trusted him instantly,” Marge explains.
She gave Dr. Williams the OK to perform surgery but shared with him her goal of traveling to Colorado later that year for an annual summer vacation with her family. It became their mutual goal.
During surgery, Dr. Williams removed the previous rod and realigned her bone to make her leg straight again. He then stabilized the bone with a specialized plate and screw combination. He declared the surgery a success.
After a careful period of rehabilitation, Marge made it to Colorado for the family vacation. Today, she also rides a bike, performs regular exercises and enjoys walking and shopping. She joyfully climbs bleachers to watch her many grandchildren play sports. Her new goal is to get back on a tractor.
She thanks Dr. Williams for putting her at ease and allowing her to return to her active life. “Beyond his surgical expertise, his patience, dedication and focus on my positive outcome were unsurpassed!”
14-Year-Old Back on the Bike After Pelvic Injury
Biking is a popular mode of transportation and form of exercise, especially during the summer. But, like any activity, there is risk involved. A recent study showed that in the U.S., 45,000 cyclists are injured on the road each year.
14-year-old Lily Charkow of River Forest, Illinois, experienced this first hand last summer when she was hit by a car while riding her bike to pick up lunch near her home. She was struck at a busy intersection and immediately rushed to the local emergency room at Rush Oak Park Hospital. She was scared, unable to move, and in a great deal of pain.
In the emergency room, Lily was diagnosed with multiple fractures in her pelvis. The ER physician explained to Lily and her parents that she would likely need surgery to repair the damage. She recommended a transfer to Rush University Medical Center for a procedure by orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Joel Williams of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.
During the surgery, Dr. Williams re-aligned her pelvic fractures, then inserted screws to stabilize them.
After the surgery, Lily couldn’t bear any weight on her left side for several months in order to allow her fractures to heal properly. Before being released from the hospital, she worked with inpatient physical and occupational therapists to ensure that she was safe to go home.
Lily spent two weeks in the hospital. Although no 14-year-old wants to spend the last few days of summer and the start of a new school year in the hospital, Lily’s mom, Kristen, raves about the kindness and accommodating nature of Dr. Williams, his team, and all the staff at Rush. They did their best to minimize Lily’s pain and keep her spirits high, even allowing the family dog to pay a visit.
Throughout the subsequent months, Lily visited Dr. Williams for her surgical follow-up and regularly worked with outpatient physical therapists to get back on her feet. In the spring, she underwent a second surgery to remove the screws in her pelvis and was thrilled to be up and walking two days later.
Despite the trauma her body endured, Lily has returned to all of her favorite activities, like tennis and yoga, and plans to be back on the bike this summer.
“Dr. Williams, his staff, and all of the staff at Rush did a wonderful job. We are beyond grateful,” Kristen said.
To contact Dr. Williams, call 844-9TRAUMA or request an appointment here.
- Dr. Williams is a spectacular surgeon with great bedside manner! I’m impressed with the outcome of my surgery. I’ve even had other surgeons compliment the post-op images. In addition, I was highly satisfied with the efficient team that works with Dr. Williams (residents, office staff).
- Dr. Williams and his team at Rush are top notch in every category. I’m a relatively young guy for a broken hip but it happened. From consultation to surgery to post op, I was very impressed by Dr. Williams, both personally and professionally. I was up again and moving like a relatively young guy in no time. Would 100% recommend him to a family member.
- Dr. Williams was very knowledgeable and spent the appropriate amount of time to help patient. He answered all my questions and made me feel like he cared and explained and listened appropriately, as well as his staff.
- I was lucky to have had Dr. Williams as my surgeon. I do not think I would have recovered as quickly without his expert care. After a severe injury to my ankle after a motorcycle crash he had me in the surgical suite two days after I limped into the ER. The procedure was minimally invasive for the injury and done without any complication. I would and have recommended him to my family for their orthopedic needs.
Nik in Chicago, IL
- Dr Williams has been instrumental in getting me back on my feet. After suffering a motorcycle injury to the tibula and knee, Dr Williams has rid me of infection once left by a the original surgeon on call in a different hospital. Love this mans bedside manor,and his most competent staff. Dr Williams office personnel are second to none.
- Dr. Williams is an excellent diagnostician! My son had been diagnosed wrongly by a different Dr. As soon as Dr. Williams listened to my sons shoulder he ordered an MRI because he suspected a bone tumor. His instincts were correct. My son had the tumor removed the following week. Dr. Williams' whole team was helpful and professional. Everything went smoothly and we could not be more grateful to Dr. Williams and his team! I WILL recommend him to everyone I know.
Jeannie Bostler in Lake in the Hills, IL
- I requested transfer to Rush in Sept. 2016 with multiple traumatic pelvic and arm fractures. After meeting Dr. Williams I knew that I had made the right decision. His care, professional expertise, and skill are the reason I am again walking, running and cycling. Dr. Williams strives for perfection and is one of the most compassionate physicians I have ever met.
Richard Katz in Crown Point, IN
- Very kind and helpful. Took time to discuss my issues and what was happening and going to happen during and after surgery.
Ruthann Botica in Chicago, il
- Fantastic bed side manor. Extreamly competent.
- He is the best ortho doc in the state
- I was referred to Dr. Williams for my non-union humerus fracture. After a number of months living as the one arm man, Dr. Williams installed a plate and did a bone graft. The result is really marvelous. I'm getting my strength back, have good range of motion, and essentially no restrictions. I couldn't be happier!
- I took my son to see Dr. Williams because a different Doctor said my he would need a plate put in his clavicle. Dr. Williams took one listen to my sons shoulder noise and immediately knew he did not need the surgery that was recommended, he ordered an MRI and as he suspected there was an osteocondroma (bone tumor). It was removed the next week in one piece and it was not cancer. We are very grateful this tumor was found, it would have kept growing and become even more painful. Dr. Williams has great instinct!
- I was in a bad accident that left me incapacitated/unable to walk. I was in torturous pain with a badly broken pelvis. I was transferred to Rush/Midwest Ortho for surgery with Dr. Williams. Most of the surgical pain was gone within 24 hours. I was out of bed 48 hours after surgery and able to walk with a walker and sit in a chair. Incisions were tiny and still fading. Dr. W has a great personality and I trusted him right away even though there wasn't much time to meet him before surg.
- My family and I had to fight dragons and hobbits with swords to get my husband transferred from Norwegian American Hospital to Rush. Literally. They lied to us to try to keep us there because we have private insurance. Once we got to Rush, it was amazeballs. My husband had a major operation on his hip with a hip trauma expert. The care is excellent, the nurses were caring, the facilities were clean and professional. My husband was treated very well by Rush staff and doctors. I would definitely go to Rush again. The after care follow up appointment was great and Dr. Williams is knowledgeable and passionate about his specialty. He does the word of God and has saved my husband.
- This past September, I fractured my femur, separated my shoulder and broke my arm on a one-wheel motorized skateboard. I was so fortunate to find Dr. Joel Williams and the orthopedic group at Midwest Orthopaedics. My leg required surgery and Dr. Williams made me as comfortable as I could be with such a traumatic injury. He took his time explaining what damage I had done on my leg and what I could expect during surgery. The surgery went as well as could be expected, and I was allowed to immediately walk on my repaired leg. I have seen Dr. Williams a number of times post op, and he is totally consistent, professional but relaxed, informative and kind. My healing has progressed excellently and I am on my way to a complete recovery. I was lucky to have Dr. Williams on my team and I recommend him to anyone in need of his terrific skills and approach!
- I found myself delivered to Rush University Hospital via an ambulance with a fractured femur. Not exactly something I would recommend; however, if you find yourself in the need of amazing emergency room care, hospital card, and an amazing trauma surgeon I am please to give high praise to Dr. Joel Williams and his team at Rush University Hospital. There were numerous unknowns when I came into the hospital. And to be honest I was just plain scared. But once I was in Dr. Williams care I felt like everything was going to be okay. The tests that were going to be run where explained. The surgery and the approach were clear to me. My family members were included in each step along the way. I am not sure being in a hospital is supposed to be enjoyable but honestly the staff was so great, nice and helpful that they made my time the best that it could be. The evening after the surgery I was back up on my feet. Dr. Williams was great about checking up on me and seeing how I was doing. He really genuinely cared enough to track my progress through the past 3 months. Dr Williams gave me good follow-up recommendations and interacted with my physical therapist to make sure everything was going well. The best proof is 3 months later my movement restrictions are removed and I am ready to get back into my triathlon training. And maybe some snow boarding.. And well all sorts of funs mischief. Thanks again Rush University Hospital and Dr. Joel Williams.
- Very caring, technically excellent, down to earth, he does everything he can to make you better.
- I saw Dr. Williams after my I fractured my hip. Knowing his reputation, I arranged to be transferred from another hospital to Rush, and I am very glad that I did. He and his team performed my surgery with skill and care. His follow-up care was excellent as well. I heartily recommend him to anyone seeking orthopedic services in the Chicagoland area and beyond.
- I was visiting home, Chicago, in June and suffered a nasty broken leg (a tibular plateau fracture which kept me non weight bearing for 3 months.) After a month, and excellent care and surgery from Dr. Williams, when I returned to New England to start PT, my surgeon here was extremely impressed with his work on my leg. And my PT has gone swimmingly and I'm walking right on time. I'm very grateful to him for his skill and caring.
- I found myself delivered to Rush University Hospital via an ambulance with a fractured femur. Not exactly something I would recommend; however, if you find yourself in the need of amazing emergency room care, hospital card, and an amazing trauma surgeon I am please to give high praise to Dr. Joel Williams and his team at Rush University Hospital.
There were numerous unknowns when I came into the hospital. And to be honest I was just plain scared. But once I was in Dr. Williams care I felt like everything was going to be okay. The tests that were going to be run where explained. The surgery and the approach were clear to me. My family members were included in each step along the way.
I am not sure being in a hospital is supposed to be enjoyable but honestly the staff was so great, nice and helpful that they made my time the best that it could be.
The evening after the surgery I was back up on my feet. Dr. Williams was great about checking up on me and seeing how I was doing. He really genuinely cared enough to track my progress through the past 3 months. Dr Williams gave me good follow-up recommendations and interacted with my physical therapist to make sure everything was going well.
The best proof is 3 months later my movement restrictions are removed and I am ready to get back into my triathlon training. And maybe some snow boarding.. And well all sorts of funs mischief.
Thanks again Rush University Hospital and Dr. Joel Williams.
- I was very happy with my surgery done by Dr. Joel Williams.
I highly recommend him.
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