Regaining mobility after jumping off a bridge

Thirteen-year-old Samuel Mainville never thought a simple swim would turn into a hospital stay. But that's what happened to him last June when he was admitted with an open fracture in his tibia. Fortunately for him, the care he received at the Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH) helped him regain his mobility.

The Châteauguay teenager was walking with friends on a condemned bridge, whose pedestrian lane is still in use. Given the heat, he wanted to imitate a friend and jump into the water below to cool off.

Unfortunately for him, he was not as lucky as his friend. He landed on a metal bar and ended up with an open fracture of his tibia. He managed to swim to the side of the water and to use a t-shirt as an improvised tourniquet while waiting for help.

He was taken to Anna-Laberge Hospital and then transferred to the MCH due to the severity of his condition. That same day, he was operated on by Dr. Thierry Benaroch, director of Pediatric Orthopedics at the MCH, who placed a plate and screws in his leg to allow the bone to heal.

Dr. Benaroch, however, didn't close the skin, but rather let the wound close itself from the inside out with Vacuum Assisted Closure (VAC).

This involves covering the wound with a bandage and applying suction. This reduces swelling in the area, increases blood flow and removes fluid from the wound, a significant benefit since Samuel's leg had been in contact with water potentially containing bacteria.

The road to recovery

The staff in the post-operative care unit were impressed with the teen's energy and good mood; he never let the situation deter him. After nearly two weeks, Samuel returned home without the VAC.

"The hospitalization went well. Every day we had the follow-up we needed to make sure Samuel was recovering. The people at the hospital were able to put us at ease and were patient with him," says his mother, Nadia Mainville.

Today, Samuel is still on crutches, but able to take a few steps. His recovery is not yet complete, but with such a positive attitude, he is certainly on the right track.