UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

Van Harden

When An Accident Almost Took His Foot, Iowa Methodist Stepped In


Van's Story: "I was using my riding mower. It started to tip over and I used my left foot to try and stop it, but my foot was pulled under the deck. In just a second, I suddenly had a very deep leg and ankle wound from the still-moving blade. I was bleeding badly. I literally hopped to the house and then my wife and I drove as fast as we could go to Methodist's ER. I even had to place my foot in a bucket, because I was bleeding so badly.

(NOTE: Remember, if you are experiencing a severe injury, illness or heavy bleeding, it's always best to immediately call 911 to receive emergency assistance from trained emergency responders/paramedics. Driving yourself, or having a family member drive you, is not recommended.)

It took three surgeries and several months of care to fix my foot and ankle. A specialized podiatric surgeon from The Iowa Clinic - and other orthopedic specialists - worked with my primary physician to get my foot and ankle working properly again. I had to have skin grafts and put in time in the hyperbaric chamber to help my tissue grow back. Near the end, I was told that three of my four doctors first thought I would lose my foot - but I didn't.

Today I 'm walking comfortably. I'm missing part of the heel bone of my foot and I use special shoes to help compensate. I'd never been in the hospital before in my life, but if I ever have to go again, I'd want the same team with me. These people knew what they were doing and did their very best for me. They saved my foot, they may have saved my life...and I'm still very, very grateful."

What helped Van recover from his injury?


Trauma Care

Van was initially helped by Iowa Methodist's Level II Trauma Center, which provides trauma care 24 hours a day - 7 days a week. Timeliness and expertise is what matters when trauma occurs. Our trauma surgeons and specialists are immediately available and prepared to handle life-threatening trauma.

Orthopaedic Surgery and Physical Therapy

Our Powell 5 inpatient orthopaedic unit, serves patients who need knee, hip, or shoulder replacements and those with fractures and bone or joint related conditions. We provide care to more than 2000 patients annually, including 1500 total joint replacements. Our board-certified orthopaedic surgeons are leaders in their respective specialties.

The Iowa Clinic's Podiatry Department specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases of the foot.

UnityPoint Health - Des Moines also has seven outpatient physicial therapy clinics to assist with a variety of motion issues, from athletic injuries to hand therapy.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Van also received hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Increased oxygen delivery to the body's tissues results in an increased oxygen level in an acute wound, allowing them to heal similarly to normal wounds.

In the Event of Emergency or Trauma...

If you are experiencing a severe injury, illness or heavy bleeding, remember that it's always best to immediately call 911 to receive emergency assistance from trained emergency responders/paramedics.