• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Teamwork and motivation spur recovery from brachial plexus injury

October 21, 2018

Sharing Mayo Clinic patient Jennifer Tetler hiking in a rocky streamA motor vehicle accident left Jennifer Tetler without the use of her left arm. But the comprehensive treatment plan developed by her Mayo Clinic care team, along with Jennifer's drive to recover as fully as possible, led to an excellent outcome.

Jennifer Tetler tried to react, tried to get out of the way. "I had a Vespa, a beautiful 250cc Vespa, and I was driving that to meet my sister one night for dinner. A car coming the other way turned left, right into me," she says. "I tried to put on the brakes and swerve, but I ended up coming off of my scooter and hitting my shoulder."

Jennifer didn't just hurt her shoulder, however. The impact damaged the complex group of brachial plexus nerves that power her arm. The injury paralyzed her left arm from her shoulder to her wrist.

After the accident, Jennifer went to Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus where she came under the care of plastic surgeon Shelley Noland, M.D., neurosurgeon Pelagia Kouloumberis, M.D., physical therapist Julie Pohlad, and occupational therapist Cecelia Skotak.

"When Jen came to see us, she had paralysis of her shoulder and her elbow. This, of course, affected her life in many ways," Dr. Noland says. "It made the things she enjoyed doing before the injury very difficult." Read the rest of Jennifer's story.

This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.