Harriett Bower's Story

Harriett BowerHarriett Bower is no stranger to St.Vincent Salem Hospital. She has been a member of the hospital Auxiliary since 2007 and a Salem resident since 1998. So, when she needed medical help with arthritis in her thumb, she knew exactly who she wanted to see, St.Vincent Salem Hospital Orthopedic Surgeon, Waqar Aziz, MD.

"Dr. Aziz took care of me a few years ago when I fell and shattered my upper arm," stated Bower. "He took such good care of me during that time, that I knew he was the one to fix my hand."

Bower came to Dr. Aziz complaining of terrible pain in her hand that would wake her at night. The pain had gotten worse gradually, but she really didn't know what she had done.

"Harriett was experiencing Basal Thumb Arthritis, complicated by advanced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome," said Dr. Aziz. "Harriett's case was more complex than most because she waited so long to have it looked at."

Dr. Aziz had to reconstruct the bone and ligament in her thumb by using some of Harriett's own tissue and removing a portion of the arthritic bone.  In addition, he had to release the tight ligament pinching the Median nerve, decreasing the pressure in her hand caused by the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Harriett BowerBower was in a cast for a few weeks and then went to a wrist brace for a few more weeks. "I was then allowed to begin physical therapy," said Bower. "And once again, I knew I wanted to go to physical therapy at St.Vincent Salem. Not only was it convenient, but if it wasn't for the therapy department helping me heal from my broken arm, I wouldn't be able to use my arm today!"

"Because Harriett's case included advanced carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis, her physical therapy was a little more extensive. However, most patients who undergo a Basal Thumb Arthritis procedure or Carpal Tunnel procedure have a quick recovery and only go to physical therapy a few times."

"Dr. Aziz was wonderful, he called the therapy department several times to check on my progress. Everyone I dealt with at the hospital and in Dr. Aziz's office was so caring and compassionate. I recommend him to anyone who needs an orthopedic surgeon!" said Bower.

Now, Harriett says she's regained about 90 percent of her strength in her hand and wrist. "I am still doing my exercises to increase my hand strength. Dr. Aziz was very thorough with explaining what I would and wouldn't be able to do after surgery so I felt very prepared. But, I can open my door; use my keys and all those other things that I had trouble with before! I am so pleased with all the care I received from beginning to end!"

Dr. Aziz now offers a comprehensive hand clinic one day a week in his Salem office. The clinic focuses on the treatment of injuries such as Harriett's and other common hand, wrist and elbow issues. The clinic also includes a dedicated occupational hand therapist who is available for consultation during clinic hours.

Dr. Aziz has had extensive training in hand and micro-surgical techniques. He completed six years of hand, elbow and shoulder training at the world-renowned Kleinert Kutz Hand Center and the University of Vienna Medical Academy.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aziz, call 812-883-8525.