A Judge’s Journey of Healing

A Judge's Journey of Healing

A Judge's Journey of Healing

After surviving a devastating automobile accident, County District Judge Leigh Anne Stephens found healing at Saint Joseph Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health.

On the evening of June 29, 2015, the life of Judge Stephens changed forever.

“My cousin and I were in the car driving down a two-lane road with my dogs when a driver came flying around the curve,” Judge Stephens said. “A mountain was on one side and a river on the other, so there was nowhere to go. At 7:28 p.m., a man who had been in my courtroom once for drunk driving hit my car head on, killing himself and one of my dogs, Judge Butterscotch.”

The Impact of the Accident

Though Judge Stephens, her cousin and one of her dogs survived the collision, they required serious medical intervention from the closest medical facility, Appalachian Regional Hospital.

Judge Stephens had a broken left leg and shattered heel bone. But that wasn’t the full extent of the consequences the accident would have on her health. She later developed an infection from her injuries and sought treatment at Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington.

With the support of Frank Burke, MD, with the Saint Joseph Wound Center and board-certified foot and ankle surgery specialist Bradford Fine, DPM, Judge Stephens underwent a robust regimen of treatments to manage the infection. The team administered antibiotics, performed surgery and ultimately had to amputate her left foot.

“I look back on that time, and I think that they knew I was going to eventually lose the foot. But their first priority was to save my life,” Judge Stephens said. “I have never felt so cared for, loved and encouraged.”

Healing and Hope

Following the amputation, Judge Stephens received hyperbaric oxygen therapy at Saint Joseph Wound Center and has been steadily adjusting to a series of prosthetics. The course of treatment she received has been boosted by the faith-filled friendships she cultivated at Saint Joseph Hospital.

“Having people around to share faith and pray with me was the best possible scenario,” Judge Stephens said. “The doctors and nurses saved my life and healed my spirit. I may have lost my foot, but I am so very blessed.”

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Summer edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

Your Support Makes All the Difference

Grateful patients and families are among the largest supporters of the mission of Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation. Have the dedicated providers at your local hospital made a difference in your life? Giving back can make a big difference in the lives of others.

Share your story or make a donation of your time or money to support the life-saving work and rehabilitation at Saint Joseph Hospital.

When Wounds Won’t Go Away

When Wounds Won't Go Away

When Wounds Won't Go Away

Diabetes and poor blood flow can turn minor cuts and sores into major problems. KentuckyOne Health wound care centers have the expertise and advanced treatments to heal them.

Chronic wounds can occur anywhere on the body, but two of the most common locations are the legs and feet.

“Venous or arterial insufficiency can lead to blood flow or swelling complications, and in turn, cause ulcers on the legs or feet,” said Tina Hasty, BSN, CWCA, clinical program director at Saint Joseph Hospital Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Center, part of KentuckyOne Health. “Individuals who have diabetes may not notice a small wound on the bottom of the foot because the disease can cause nerve damage. Over time, these wounds may grow bigger without their knowledge, unless they check their feet regularly.”

Approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes develop foot ulcers (open sores or wounds). This happens because healing is typically slower for those with diabetes.

“High levels of blood glucose can negatively impact one’s blood circulation and nervous system, which ultimately affects the body’s ability to heal,” said Timothy Ford, DPM, podiatric physician and surgeon. “It is very important for patients with diabetes to take care of their feet and look for any wounds. If not treated properly, wounds could lead to amputation.”

A Two-pronged Approach

If you have a wound that hasn’t healed in 30 days, you should visit a wound care center, where specially trained physicians and nurses can treat the wound and ensure you receive care for its underlying causes. KentuckyOne Health has three wound care centers, which are located in Bardstown, Louisville and Lexington.

“Our wound care team develops treatment plans for patients and as indicated, refers them to specialists, including vascular surgeons, infectious disease specialists and podiatrists,” Hasty said. “We have a variety of treatments we can use to heal wounds, including advanced dressings, compression therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Educating patients about their wounds is also an important part of our work.”

Have a wound that won’t heal? Learn more about treatments and find the wound care center nearest you.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Summer edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.