A Career-Saving Surgery for a Lifesaving Professional
As a firefighter, physical fitness is an important part of Vince Bee’s job. But in July 2000, physical fitness almost took his job with the Miami Township Fire Department away as he played in a basketball game with his colleagues. During the game, Vince hit the ground – hard. The impact dislocated his left elbow and shattered the radial head. Needless to say, he was in incredible pain.
“I thought, ‘Oh, that doesn’t look good,’” Vince said. He was 31 years old and thought his career as a firefighter was over – until he was referred to Thomas Kiefhaber, MD, a surgeon with the TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute.
After a series of pictures and X-rays, Dr. Kiefhaber told Vince that many people are forced to retire from firefighting with lesser injuries. “I can’t retire yet!” Vince exclaimed. He had a six-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter. He still had about 19 years to go as a firefighter until he could retire with full benefits. Dr. Kiefhaber told Vince he could repair his elbow and get him another 15 years.
Dr. Kiefhaber operated on Vince twice. Since Vince’s radial head was shattered, the first surgery cleaned up the area and a prosthetic piece was inserted while the rest of the elbow healed. One year later, Vince had a second surgery where that piece came out and he was on course for full recovery.
“He was so nice and so laid back, and he took care of everything,” said Vince of Dr. Kiefhaber. Vince was back to work less than two months after his injury, and was on light duty while his elbow healed and he went through rehab.
Eighteen years after his injury, Vince is still working as a firefighter, and is now the fire chief for the village of New Richmond. He credits Dr. Kiefhaber with saving his career.
“I owe him a lot, no doubt about that!” Vince said. “I’m so thankful.”
Last Updated: July 13, 2018