ThedaCare introduces first patient in recent years to have arm reattached Trauma Center Surgeons at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah Say His Recovery Has Exceeded All Expectations

Tim Schroeder, Black Creek, had his life changed forever two years ago when he was working on the U.S. 441 bridge project and he severed his arm. The Town of Menasha (now Fox Crossing) police and fire responded, applied a tourniquet and iced his arm. Gold Cross Ambulance rushed Schroeder to the Trauma Center at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah.
Matthew Butler, MD, hand surgeon with Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin, reattached the arm on that June 2016 day. “It’s rare to be able to reattach an arm. It’s the first time in recent years we’ve done one in this area. There were three things that worked in the patient’s favor that day,” recalled Dr. Butler. “The speed and efficiency of the trauma response team was remarkable. They triaged the patient’s injuries in just the right way. Second, the source of injury to the arm was confined, which gave us a better opportunity to reattach the arm. And third, we had a patient who had a positive attitude toward doing the therapy work during recovery. Mr. Schroeder exceeded all of our expectations for recovery.”
In addition to Dr. Butler, the trauma team included Patrick Brennan, MD, trauma surgeon, and Jeffrey Burkett, MD, trauma surgeon, both from Surgical Associates of Neenah. The surgeons and Schroeder met with media today to share the rare procedure and remarkable recovery.
“The last thing I remember from the day of the accident was someone talking to me in the ambulance and everything else is foggy until a week later,” said Schroeder. “I didn’t know what to expect, but they told me I’d get some motion back in my elbow and fingers if I did the work. Today I have better than 80 percent use of my elbow and some motion in my wrist and fingers.”
He also has some ongoing pain and tingling, which Dr. Butler said is to be expected with this type of injury. Schroeder continues his therapy and is getting used to his new normal. “There are three things I love to do: farm, work construction and cut wood,” said Schroeder. “My next goal is to run a chainsaw so I can get back to cutting wood. I don’t know if I’ll get there, but I like to set goals to keep me going.”
For more than 100 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose, as well as 31 clinics in nine counties and the ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.
Tim Schroeder rests after his reattachment surgery. – Submitted photo