Rare Life-Threatening Condition Diagnosed

Jenifer Finley credits Wickenburg Community Hospital (WCH) with saving her arm — and possibly her life.

Finley has lupus, an auto-immune disease that occurs when a person’s own immune system attacks their tissue and organs. Therefore, it was not unusual for her to go to the WCH Emergency Department to get her wounds cleaned and dressed, then receive IV antibiotics. That is, until a frightening chain of events began in May of 2021.

“I have a lot of pain from my lupus,” says Finley. “This didn’t seem any different than the pain I experience every day.”

Finley didn’t think much of it, but her arm was red and a little swollen. She punctured it while transplanting a cactus weeks before and had already taken a 10-day course of antibiotics to prevent infection. Dr. Randall Rogers noticed the swelling, the redness, and a lack of mobility.

“Dr. Rogers said he was worried about my arm,” says Finley. “He was very stern when he told Dan (Jenifer’s husband) and me it was imperative that I see a specialist right away.”

Recognizing the Need for Specialty Care

Jenifer and Dan discussed it. Her arm didn’t really hurt so they asked if they could see the specialist four days later after the Memorial Day Holiday.  Dr. Rogers said it was very serious, he already alerted Mayo Clinic, and the Finleys needed to go immediately.

Dr. Rogers believed Jenifer had compartment syndrome, a dangerous condition caused by pressure buildup from internal bleeding or swelling of tissue. The pressure decreases blood flow, depriving muscles and nerves of nourishment. Compartment syndrome is not only dangerous but also uncommon with fewer than 20,000 cases a year in the U.S. In extreme instances, compartment syndrome can also be fatal.

“I realized I might be in trouble when the surgeon at Mayo said he would do everything he could to save my arm,” remembers Finley. Jenifer had emergency surgery the same night.

After a successful surgery and months of physical therapy, Finley still has some challenges but she is at 90%.

“The doctors at Mayo were impressed that Dr. Rogers identified the urgency of my situation,” says Finley. “WCH recognized I needed specialty care quickly and then directed me immediately to the appropriate facility.”

Giving Back to the Hospital

Finley is on the all-volunteer Board of Directors for WCH. Join her in supporting advanced technologies, state-of-the-art facilities and compassionate patient care programs at the Hospital. Please consider donating to assist WCH in improving the health and well-being of Wickenburg and surrounding communities.