Center’s team saves Eatontown man’s leg

Thanks to a multidisciplinary team at Monmouth Medical Center, an Eatontown resident is today walking without pain or a limp. Vedat Bagdatoglu faced a greater than 95 percent probability of losing his left leg following a devastating injury.

The 41-year-old limousine driver was working on a home improvement project last fall when he fell off a ladder and severely injured his leg and ankle. Home alone at the time, he dragged himself across the yard in search of help, aggravating the injury and increasing the risk of infection.

The leg was nearly severed about six inches above the ankle, yet today Bagdatoglu walks without pain and no limp and credits his recovery to a surgical team led by orthopaedic surgeon Brian Torpey, as well as Monmouth’s emergency department and physical therapy staff.

"The Eatontown First Aid Squad took me to Monmouth Medical Center’s Emergency Department where they took X-rays and then called in a specialist," said Bagdatoglu, a native of Turkey.

Torpey spent six hours repairing the leg. He explained that the injury led to the loss of the posterior tibia nerve, which allows for the feeling of sensation on the bottom of the foot. Torpey was assisted by neurosurgeon Jonathan Lustgarten and vascular surgeon Alfonso Ciervo in identifying nerve damage and repairing blood vessels.

"The odds of saving his leg were less than 5 percent. You almost never see a full recovery from that type of injury," said Torpey.

Following the initial surgery, Bagdatoglu was monitored by a visiting nurse who checked for signs of infection. He also underwent four subsequent surgeries including a procedure to place a hybrid ring fixator stabilizing device to treat the fractures of his shattered left ankle.

Both Torpey and Bagdatoglu praise the efforts of physical therapist Robert Kowalski.

"Rehabilitation Services at Monmouth worked really well with him to restore motion to his ankle," said Torpey.

"Vedat’s biggest complaint was a loss of motion and difficulty with balance," Kowalski said. "Lacerating injuries cause a lot of nerve damage, so we worked to increase his range of motion and restore his balance."

Kowalski and Torpey praised Bagdatoglu’s close adherence to his treatment plan. "For the first five months, he had to totally immobilize the leg. He was very compliant and that was a key to his success, along with the fact that he was young and medically healthy," said Torpey.

"In discussing his case in orthopaedic conference at the hospital, my colleagues were unanimous in thinking the injury would lead to amputation," he added.

Bagdatoglu faithfully followed a home exercise program in addition to his twice-weekly physical therapy sessions, according to Torpey.