After a work-related scaffolding accident in December of 2008, Air Force veteran Ken Voegeli was left with extensive damage to his right leg and found himself suddenly unable to work. As he underwent a series of intense surgeries and attempted fusions beginning in 2009 in an attempt to rebuild Ken’s leg, the cartilage in the leg deteriorated progressively until there was no way for Ken to walk without excruciating pain and constant discomfort. By 2015, nearly seven years after his initial accident, Ken was literally walking on broken bones and finally was able to consider amputation through workers’ compensation as an option.
Introduced to P&O Care in 2009, right after his first surgery, Ken first started as an orthotics patient. The professionals at P&O Care helped Ken sample several orthotics solutions to try to manage his pain and improve his quality of life as his surgeries continued, including knee braces, shoe lifts, and ankle supports. As a seven-year veteran of the United States Air Force, an active contractor, and a volunteer in his community, Ken was the farthest thing from an inactive person and not being able to keep up his lifestyle due to his leg injuries was becoming frustrating and stifling.
After several unsuccessful surgical fusions, workers’ compensation, at last, granted Ken’s request for a below the knee (BK) amputation in 2016 and with P&O Care practitioners by his side, Ken was finally able to begin healing from his injury. Having met P&O Care’s own Dylan Borrenpohl, CPO, in 2015, Ken was supported and guided through the process of amputation and customizing a prosthesis that would give him his independence back. Practitioners at P&O Care were so dedicated to ensuring Ken’s comfort that Luke Brewer, CPO, made Ken a prosthesis to wear home from the hospital directly following his amputation surgery while his permanent device was being customized.
After over a year of physical therapy to learn how to use his below the knee prosthesis with a locking liner and carbon fiber foot to the fullest, Ken was able to resume some of the activities that he had loved before his accident. “Before I got hurt, I was working seven days a week, 18 hours a day,” says Ken. “I became almost sedentary after my accident. After talking with Dylan, he knew how active I was and knew that I wouldn’t be satisfied with not getting some of that back. He committed to providing me with the most durable prosthetic available.”
Today, Ken works daily at his local food pantry, Matthew 25 Ecumenical Food Pantry, and has even been able to resume some of his work in the construction field, spending his days remodeling houses for people in his community. Ken’s daughter, who was just four years old at the time of his original injury, is still his biggest cheerleader and the Voegeli family remains grateful for the continued support they receive from P&O Care. “I have not met a single person who doesn’t really go out of their way to help me out when I go into P&O Care,” says Ken.