Our Patients

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David’s Story

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Holy Cross native, David Errthum, recently visited with members of the GMHC trauma team who assisted in saving his hand after an accident this past May. (L-R): Amy Sadewasser, Megan Borrett, Dr. Daniel Mansfield, David, Paul Decker, Shelly Klein, ARNP, Dr. Andy Smith, Deb Preston and Brandie Thomkins.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 22, David Errthum was at home putting the final touches on a family room remodeling project. His youngest daughter’s graduation party was at their home that Saturday and he only had two pieces of trim to add to complete the room.

David was sawing the wooden trim with a 12” chop saw, when the wood moved. Focused on the cut of the board, David reached his left arm over to hold it, when he sawed through the wood and then nearly severed his hand. David yelled for his wife and daughter, who called 911. Knowing he was in trouble, he wrapped his arm in dishtowels and kneeled on the steps of his deck, applying pressure.

When the Holy Cross ambulance crew arrived they placed a tourniquet on Dave’s arm and had him hold it on ice as they rushed him to Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics (GMHC).

The ambulance gave GMHC notice that they were to arrive shortly with a severely injured man. The trauma team was activated and was waiting in the Emergency Department when the ambulance arrived. The injury was assessed as a nearly complete amputation of David’s left hand. Only about an inch of tissue kept his hand attached to his arm.

While waiting for the medical helicopter to arrive to transport him to Iowa City, further evaluation was done. Dr. Daniel Mansfield, general surgeon, wanted to do whatever was possible to give David the best chance of saving his hand.

 

“My surgeons in Iowa City were very impressed with the response time and work done here at GMHC. They credit you all for saving my hand.”

 

“We gently released the tourniquet and were able to control the arterial bleeding. Then we were able to see if there was any ow from the other artery making it to the hand. And amazingly there was! We knew that this would give him the best chance to save his hand,” said Mansfield.

David’s hand and arm were stabilized in a splint and he was prepared for helicopter transport.

A surgical team at the University of Iowa spent nearly eight hours reconstructing and reattaching David’s hand.

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Waving his healing arm, David rode in the Guttenberg ambulance with Paul Decker during the Holy Cross parade in August.

When David awoke, he was surrounded by his wife and all four of his daughters. He was released two days later, on Friday, May 24.

With the overwhelming help of his friends and family, the graduation party for his daughter went on as planned the next day, becoming an appreciation party too.

David recently had an opportunity to visit with the trauma team at GMHC who helped him.

“Thank you,” said David gratefully as he showed them his arm. “My surgeons in Iowa City were very impressed with the response time and work done here at GMHC. They credit you all for saving my hand.”

David’s arm is still in a compression glove and a splint, and with continued physical therapy, he anticipates full use of it once again.

When reflecting on the accident, David was overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone who has assisted him during his recovery. “I’m a pretty independant guy,” he said. “I’m not good at having to rely on others, but this accident gave me so many opportunities to spend time with my family and friends because I had to depend on them. I’m humbled by all who have helped me and will be forever grateful.”

Walking Her Way to Better Health

Cindy Niehaus walks alongside GMHC Physical Therapist, Joel Gourley, with the Guttenberg Gallopers Wellness Club on Guttenberg’s River Walk.

When Cindy Niehaus learned about a free wellness club sponsored by GMHC that involved walking, she was ready to join. Cindy attended the initial meeting of the Guttenberg Gallopers Wellness Club, led by Physical Therapist Joel Gourley, last March.

“I knew I needed to do something to improve my overall physical health, and I really enjoy walking,” said Cindy. “I needed accountability partners to keep me committed, and the physical therapy department and Health Coaches were great encouragement for me! We walked twice a week during some very frigid spring days, but I bundled up and walked.”

When Cindy began with the club, she had to stop and rest frequently because of shortness of breath. After walking regularly, Cindy has improved her endurance, now completing the entire stretch (over a mile) without stopping and even while carrying on a conversation.
 

“This is such a beautiful path to walk, right here along the river. I’m very thankful GMHC started up this club to keep me motivated. I feel great!” Cindy Niehaus, Guttenberg Galloper Member

 
To learn more about the Guttenberg Gallopers Wellness Club, call 563-252-5527.

The Guttenberg Gallopers Wellness Club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5pm at the Gazebo through October and will begin again in the spring. Walkers, joggers, runners are all welcome to join. Membership is free.