Doctors give 4-year-old patient her rhythm back

Piper Fucile, Pediatric ER/Trauma, Palm Beach Children's Hospital at St. Mary's Medical Center  

Our-Stories-PiperAs an outgoing, active little girl, 4-year-old Piper Fucile participates in gymnastics, dance, and loves doing cartwheels. One day, while at school, she attempted a cartwheel and planted her hand the wrong way. Shortly after, her parents received the phone call that every parent dreads. Their daughter had badly injured her right arm and hand and needed to go to the hospital.

The Fucile family picked up Piper from school and drove her to a hospital emergency room close to their home in Palm City. She was admitted, but five hours later, her parents felt dissatisfied with the level of care she was receiving and decided to take her further south to Palm Beach Children's Hospital at St. Mary's Medical Center. Upon arrival, the emergency room team immediately began examining Piper and noticed there was no pulse in her right hand. They ran tests and discovered that she was suffering from a brachial artery injury.

After learning of Piper's diagnosis, her parents were scared and concerned, but immediately found comfort and reassurance when they were introduced to Dr. Steven Saslow, an orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Dimiter B. Hristov, a trauma and general vascular surgeon, both on the medical staff at St. Mary's Medical Center. Together, the physicians performed an open surgical procedure on Piper's arm for 4 1/2 hours to bring the pulse back into her arm and hand.

"The doctors were very informative and went over everything with us before, during and after the surgery," says Leigh Anne, Piper's mom. Leigh Anne was also thankful for the support of the hospital's Child Life team, who engaged Piper with fun activities to help her cope with the situation. Amazingly, just one day after surgery, Piper's condition had improved tremendously.

"We were chasing her around the children's playroom with her IV pole," Leigh Anne recalls.

Today, the Fucile's are ecstatic and grateful to see their Piper back to her happy and energetic self. She has been thriving at gymnastics and was recently moved up to an advanced class.

"Our family appreciates everything they did for our little girl," Leigh Anne says. "I have recommended Palm Beach Children's Hospital to Piper's teachers and anyone who has kids. They are by far the best choice for any kind of pediatric care."

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