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Patient Story: Dr. Erik Dorf

Diane comes to tears thinking back to the day her 5-year-old son Conrad nearly lost his fingertips. Conrad was in a public restroom with his dad, Jarrett, when his fingers got caught in the door. Diane was waiting downstairs and heard horrendous screams and crying coming from the stairwell. Diane, a family physician, took one look at the dangling fingertips and thought, “he’s going to lose them.”

Fingertips Must Have Proper Care

Fingertips are rich with nerves and are extremely sensitive. Without prompt and proper care, a fingertip injury can disrupt the function of the hand, possibly resulting in permanent deformity and disability. Little did she know his fingers would soon return to normal, thanks to the work of Dr. Erik Dorf.

After wrapping his hand in a T-shirt, Diane and Jarrett rushed Conrad to Diane’s medical office to get x-rays, and then to the hospital where Conrad went to Pre-op. Conrad rested comfortably in pre-op wearing Bugs Bunny pajamas and watching a DVD. Diane remembers Dr. Dorf examining Conrad’s fingers and saying confidently, “those fingers are going to be fine.”

Meticulous, Painstaking Work

In surgery Dr. Dorf realigned the crushed bones and repaired the damage by restoring blood vessels and nerves that are not even visible to the naked eye. It was meticulous, painstaking work, all the more difficult on such tiny fingers. “Conrad was at real risk of losing his finger tips,” recalls Dr. Dorf. “Time was of the essence.”

The surgery lasted only an hour, which seemed quick to Diane. “I was stunned at how fast he was able to do the operation.”

Conrad went home that same day in a long white cast. He remained in a cast for a few weeks to ensure that the wound healed properly.

Back to What He Loves

Diane and Jarrett describe Conrad as one tough and extremely lucky kid. Today he is back doing everything that a normal 5-year-old does with his hands – using scissors, making paper airplanes, even saying ‘I love you’ in sign language.


Shoulder, Hand, Elbow, Wrist, Knee & Orthopaedic Trauma

Shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands represent some of the body's most difficult surgical environments. Packed with tiny nerves, blood vessels, and complicated anatomy, upper extremity surgeons have to be comfortable working with delicate tissues that most orthopaedists would rather avoid. But Dr. Dorf has never shied away from a challenge.


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