Easy access to specialty care helps officer get back on job

Webster police officer receives orthopedic surgery, follow-up care close to home

Easy access to specialty care helps officer get back on job

Garret Premus is a police officer in Webster, South Dakota, who recently ran into a stretch of physical issues that he could no longer ignore.

The 51-year-old had dealt with surgeries on his right shoulder in the past, but this was his left shoulder. In addition, he was suffering from carpal tunnel that was so bad his fingers were almost completely numb.

He could barely swing a golf club anymore, in addition to the discomfort that was accompanying him on the job and at home.

He finally decided on getting shoulder and carpal tunnel surgery in Aberdeen. When he got the OK from his surgeon to start in with physical therapy afterward they asked him where he wanted to do it. He could get it done in Aberdeen if he wanted but there were other options.

“I told them I wanted it done at Sanford Webster,” Premus said. “It’s a brand new facility and it’s right in my town. It’s about a four-block drive from my house.”

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Expert care four blocks away in Webster. As a package deal, it was about all Premus could ask for with a sore shoulder and numb fingers.

“I’m doing great,” Premus said. “They’ve done a great job with my therapy and helping me get back in shape. I can swing a club now. There’s still a little tingling in my fingers, but they’ve shown me what to do to help my carpal tunnel, and it’s working. It’s almost back to normal.”

Team care close to home

Premus worked mainly with physical therapists Jaclyn Iverson and Kyle Hubsch in Webster during a very successful rehab that has him back to doing everything he was doing prior to shoulder surgery.

“Garret was really active beforehand which made a world of difference in the rehab that followed,” said Iverson, a Webster native whose family has known the Premus family since she was born.

“He was very good about doing his home program. When we see somebody here two or three times a week, that’s just the start. You have to do things on your own, too, to progress. And he was great about doing exactly what we told him. He followed his precautions and guidelines and he made it really easy on us.”

Premus was well aware getting the procedure done was only the beginning of the healing process. He had to start out slow after the surgery but was back with the police department in two-and-a-half months. The regular therapy continued. If anything, the benefits of being able to stay local were even more pronounced after he was back on the job.

For one thing, driving from Webster to Aberdeen from October to March is often going to include some suspense. Avoiding possible weather issues was a huge advantage. Plus, when Premus went back to his job, he didn’t have arrange his schedule around a three-hour window that had to figure in both therapy and drive time.

“It’s way better to be here than have to go to Aberdeen three times a week,” Premus said. “I could get a sheriff’s office deputy cover my shift for the hour it took and then come back to work.”

Access makes it easy

The fact that he was able to get the surgery and therapy done at Sanford locations also saved both time and effort and cut down considerably on potential complications.

“I didn’t have to find a bunch of email addresses,” Premus said. “If I’d had to get therapy at a non-Sanford place, it would have been a huge inconvenience. The way I’ve been able to do it, everybody knows what’s going on. It’s all on My Sanford Chart.”

Premus is one of many Webster residents whose lives are easier and care is better based on access to physical therapists like Iverson and Hubsch.

“If you look at going to Watertown or Aberdeen for that rehab you’re driving an hour there, then having the appointment, then driving an hour home,” Iverson said. “That’s three hours out of their day three days a week. It’s a huge time commitment, especially when you’re trying to return to work.”

Instead, care for Premus was a few minutes away. And he’s playing golf again.

“I feel 100% better,” he said.

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Posted In Aberdeen, Allied Health, General Surgery, Orthopedics, Rehabilitation & Therapy, Rural Health, Sports Medicine, Watertown, Webster