Charleston Local Regains Quality of Life Following Boating-Related Accident Thanks to MUSC Health


My name is Alex Rama, and
I live on Isle of Palms. I enjoy riding horses,
going to the gym, and I love anything
on the water. On July 31st, 2018,
I was out in the boat with two of my good friends. My friend was actually
off the back of the boat, and he was in like
mid-chest high of water. And instead of diving
right on top of him, I just decided to dive on
the other side of the prop. I didn’t see any
fluctuation in water, had polarized sunglasses on,
thought I did everything right. So when I drove off,
there just happened to be a foot of
pluff mud, and that’s where my injury happened. I quickly realized that
I had broken my neck or somehow severed
my spinal cord. I tried to move my arms
to flip myself over, I couldn’t move my arms. As morbid as it
sounds, I quickly realized that I was either
going to be a quadriplegic, or I was going to die. She had what’s called a
Jefferson fracture in her neck. So it was a fracture of the
ring of the first cervical vertebrae, and that led
to a lot of instability in her cervical spine. The initial treatment at
MUSC was to immobilize her in a hard collar. We evaluated her. We got additional scans,
including an MRI scan, showing some ligamentous
injury to her neck as well. It was clear off those
pictures that the instability was significant and could be
managed alone in a hard collar. And that she would need formal
and definitive treatment for that which is an open
instrumentation and fusion surgery involving the placement
of hardware in C1 and C2 and stabilizing that joint. The intent of the hardware
is to hold the C1 and C2 bones together. And then, we lay
down bone products in the patient’s own bone, so
that the patient can actually regrow bone over those
two areas to facilitate was called bony fusion. So that the bones are
permanently healed and will not move anymore. To me, Dr. Kalhorn and
his nurse practitioner have been absolutely wonderful. They’re super
helpful, informative, and I couldn’t be
happier with their care. Moving forward, I
think she should have a really good prognosis. She’s been able to go
back to work and some of her regular activities. I think she’s going to be
able to live a normal life. She’s going to be able to
go back to regular activity. She’s a big fan of
horseback riding, and I think we’ll be able to
get her back to doing that even.

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