Injury becomes game-changer for Super Bowl party

young boy named Crue with a fractured arm in hospital bed

On February 11 while the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers were still taking turns with the lead in the Super Bowl, Megan and Dustin Dalbey of West Fargo were in Sanford’s Emergency Department with their 3-year-old-son, Crue.

Crue 1

Crue in the Pediatric ICU

“We were all at our friends’ house for a Super Bowl party with the kids,” Megan explained.  “The kids were in their pajamas, and we just gave them their 5-minute warning for bedtime.”

“It was almost halftime, and we were saving the good snacks until they went to bed,” she joked.

But within minutes, their game plan quickly changed. Crue and his friend were playing on a large bean bag chair in another area of the family room.

“We heard someone fall, and then a scream.”

They found Crue on the floor, and when he stood up, “his arm was not looking normal,” she said.

Their friend, an emergency department doctor, agreed, did a quick exam, and said they needed to take him to the hospital right away, which luckily was only 5 minutes from the house.

Crue had broken his arm – a rather common fracture – but he did require surgery the next morning so was admitted to Sanford Health. The Dalbey’s made arrangements for Dustin’s mom to watch Crue’s younger brother, Hayes, so both of them could be at the hospital with Crue.

Crue 2

Crue in the Pediatric ICU

Although the surgery to set Crue’s arm on Monday went well, there was a complication. For some reason, blood flow to his arm wasn’t optimal.

“The surgeon said that they lost pulses in his arm a few times and that it turned white,” said Megan.  “He needed a vascular surgeon, so it was decided to send Crue down to HCMC by helicopter.”

This of course required additional planning for someone to watch Hayes, and bags that needed to be packed. Megan also had a follow-up appointment on Tuesday at noon that she couldn’t miss – but would do so if she had to.

Everything was moving fast. The helicopter was ready to take Crue to Minneapolis on Monday night. The Dalbey’s were worried about him arriving at HCMC with no family members there with him so Dustin’s sister, a nurse practitioner in Rochester, immediately got in her car so she could meet Crue when he arrived at the hospital. Dustin left West Fargo at the same time.

When Crue arrived at HCMC he was greeted by his aunt and the medical team, including vascular surgeon Dr. Michael Hu and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jessica Downes.

Crue giving provider a high five

Crue gives Dr. Hu a high five at a recent appointment

“We repeated the arterial ultrasound here which confirmed the blockage in the right arm artery that they had noted in Fargo,” explained Dr. Hu. “In the ICU, we had a discussion with pediatrics, orthopedic surgery, and myself. The orthopedic surgeon from Fargo had called down and personally talked to all of us during this multidisciplinary discussion and gave us a complete explanation of what was done there. We quickly agreed that given the kind of elbow fracture that he had and the decreased blood flow in his hand, we should take Crue to surgery and fix the artery and verify it was not caught in or tethered by the broken bone fragments.”

Megan desperately called her clinic Tuesday morning and asked to be seen earlier in the day because her son had been transferred to Minneapolis and she was hoping to make it there in time for his surgery. Sanford Clinic quickly obliged and squeezed her in right away.

“Dustin called me when I was just finishing up my appointment and said they were sending Crue down to surgery,” she said. After being diagnosed with lupus and picking up her new medications, she immediately left for HCMC.

Meanwhile in Minneapolis, during a joint operation with orthopedic and vascular surgery, the HCMC surgeons restored blood flow to Crue’s arm and optimized the fixation of the fracture.

Dr. Jess Downes with Crue and Megan at a recent appointment

Dr. Jess Downes with Crue and Megan at a recent appointment

“The truly special aspect of this case was the fantastic communication and teamwork between the outside referring physicians, the HCMC emergency department, vascular, orthopedic and pediatric teams to facilitate and provide excellent care to this patient,” added Dr. Downes.

Crue has a few more follow-up appointments scheduled in Minneapolis, and then will resume care at home with Sanford Health. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

“We didn’t find out who won the Super Bowl until about 2 a.m. on February 12,” said Dustin. “We may have been a little sidelined by an injury – but are so grateful for the system of care that got Crue the help he needed.”