Share - Fall 2017 - 19
and Excellent Medical Care Overcome Tragedy
Dru Hemmann at the
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital Update
ixteen-year old Dru Hemmann's story is harrowing.
While recreational riding on an ATV with family and
friends last year, the Perryville, Missouri native
hit loose gravel and flipped. "I stuck my leg out to catch
myself," Dru explains, "and my leg was crushed."
Dru was airlifted to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon
Children's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri where she was
diagnosed with a severe leg fracture and extensive soft
tissue loss. Dr. Elizabeth Engel, a pediatric orthopedic
specialist at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon, describes
the treatment. "We had four orthopedic surgeons and
specialists from plastic surgery, vascular surgery and
general surgery all working together to try to save her leg."
Despite the intensive effort of the medical team the doctors
had to tell Dru and her family that amputation was the best
option. Dru's father Mike was devastated but grateful for
the compassion and skill of the treating physicians. "The
doctors at Cardinal Glennon really cared about Dru. They
tried time after time to do whatever they could to save Dru's
leg, but in the end it wasn't possible. Dru's plastic surgeon,
Dr. Alexander Lin, had tears in his eyes when he said there
was too much damage to save the leg."
What made the situation even more difficult was that Dru
loved sports and was a standout athlete. Just weeks before
the accident she was named her school's Female Athlete of
Through sheer determination, Dru powered through two
amputations. Physical and mental toughness sustained
her during painful rehabilitation. Amidst the darkness of
her horrible ordeal the care she received at SSM Health
Cardinal Glennon was a source of light. "We were so happy
with our experience at Cardinal Glennon," Dru's mom Tracy
said. "I felt like the nurses and doctors gave Dru excellent
care and were very good at explaining clearly what was
going on. We were there so long and so often that Dru
became friends with a lot of the nurses."
A month after she got her first prosthetic (an artificial
limb that replaces a leg) Dru started high school, walking
first with crutches and then without crutches around the
entire school track. She also started playing volleyball with
a regional select team.
Dru's rapid comeback still amazes the doctors. "You
sometimes second guess yourself because we are trained
to save legs, not remove them," Dr. Engel said. "To see her
getting right back into things within a very short time frame
makes you feel like you made the right decision. Dru has
shown us all that amputation is not the end of her world."
Tracy adds, "We want other active kids to know that an
amputation is not the end of the world. And I hope that
young people who find themselves in Dru's situation will
be as fortunate as we were to find doctors as competent
and caring as those at Cardinal Glennon. Their compassion
and expertise, combined with Dru's strength and fighting
spirit, allowed her to pull through this ordeal and become
a true winner."
Dru concludes, "I can run, walk and play volleyball. I just
made the high school soccer team and I'm practicing with
She adds with a smile, "Yep, it's game on!"
To watch Dru's video visit glennon.org/dru-hemmann * Please refer to advertisement on the front, inside cover.