A dance move, a severely broken leg and a trip to Stanford Health Care

Wendy Quivey suffered a complex leg fracture while celebrating a friend’s wedding in Mexico. Stanford orthopaedic surgeon Michael Gardner was able to get her back on her feet.

- By Mandy Erickson

Wendy Quivey underwent surgery at Stanford Hospital for a badly broken leg she suffered while doing the limbo at a friend's wedding.
Steve Fisch

In Mexico for a friend’s wedding, Wendy Quivey took some time before the ceremony to explore the state of Guanajuato. She rode a bicycle along dirt roads, steering around cows and trucks, and drove an all-terrain vehicle through rivers and up mountains. 

Then, during the wedding reception, she broke her leg doing the limbo. 

“I did all this daring stuff, and one dance move and I was toast,” said the 47-year-old pharmaceutical representative. 

An ambulance took her to the nearest hospital, where doctors wrapped her leg in bandages and gave her some pain medication so she could fly home to San Mateo, California. Still, she said, the flight “was hell.”

“I could feel the bones moving around, and the pain medication wasn’t strong enough,” she said.

Another ambulance took her from Oakland Airport to her local hospital, where the doctors said the break was so severe she needed the expertise of the surgeons at Stanford Health Care

Arriving at Stanford Hospital on the night of March 9 was “a relief,” she said. “The emergency doctors and nurses jumped right in, getting me ready for surgery.”

The next day, Michael Gardner, MD, professor of orthopaedic surgery, spent three hours re-assembling her lower leg with the help of metal rods and screws.

Quivey’s shin and ankle bones had both broken into several pieces. Such a severe injury from a dance move is “a little atypical,” Gardner said. “It was something about the way she was positioned. She twisted and fell on just the right spot to cause the fracture.”  

Quivey spent another night in the hospital, then went home to rest and start physical therapy. Orders for Bay Area residents to stay at home and stem the spread of the coronavirus were issued days after her surgery, and Quivey was furloughed from her job. But that gave her plenty of time to rehabilitate the leg. 

“The physical therapists are so impressed with my recovery,” she said. “It’s all gone really well.”

Quivey returned to Stanford Hospital for X-rays, then had follow-up video visits with Gardner. 

She has since returned to work and is riding her bicycle, as well as lifting weights. Gardner expects that she can start running again next year. 

“I feel so lucky to have found Dr. Gardner,” she said. 

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit med.stanford.edu.

2023 ISSUE 3

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