Back To Saving Lives

During a fire at the Lancaster Campground, Craig Spiller grabbed the heavy hose off of the fire truck and began to carry it toward the fire – just as the Lancaster Firefighter had done many times before. While trying to maneuver the hose, he heard a loud “pop” in his right shoulder. He immediately knew something was not right due to the pain and lack of mobility in his shoulder.

Orthopedic Surgery 1Spiller was seen by Dr. Mark D’Onofrio, orthopedic surgeon at Fairfield Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a torn labrum tendon that would need to be repaired surgically. After his surgery last year, Spiller completed four weeks of acute outpatient physical therapy at FMC’s Physical Medicine Department before he was given clearance to return to light-duty work.

“I didn’t feel safe returning to work; I knew I couldn’t perform my job safely and effectively,” he said. “I knew I needed more therapy, so I asked my therapists what options I had and they informed me about their WorkLife programs.”

FMC’s two WorkLife programs – Work Conditioning and Work Hardening – are designed to get individuals with work-related injuries back to gainful employment. Therapists work with patients to restore mobility, skill, tolerance and endurance through task modification, physical conditioning and work simulation activities. These programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Spiller went through the Work Conditioning program, then the Work Hardening program. His program had a lot of emphasis on cardio, shoulder strengthening and exercises specific to his job.

“The therapists were great,” he said. “They even created exercises that simulated starting a chainsaw.”

Spiller not only gained all of his strength back over the course of five months of therapy, but also successfully completed the program and is stronger today than before his injury. He recommends FMC’s WorkLife program to anyone suffering from a work-related injury.

“This program has changed my life,” he said. “I lost 15 pounds while in the Work Hardening program. I have continued to exercise and even recently ran a couple 5Ks.”

Tags: Dr. Mark D’Onofrio, orthopedic services, physical therapy, shoulder,