Claudia Returns to Sing and Dance
After Serious Bike Accident


Return Dance After Bike Accident

Claudia H. of Chicago’s North Side was born in Paris with a song in her heart and a dance in her step which helped fuel her performance arts career. When a serious biking accident left her with a broken wrist and leg, she found herself unable to pursue her passion for performing cabaret. Thankfully, the expert and inspired care she received at Swedish Hospital set her on a path to complete recovery. She recently returned to perform a concert for the hospital staff and patients to thank them for their critical support.

Claudia immediately knew that the bicycling accident near her home was serious when she experienced excruciating pain unlike anything she previously felt. “The accident was very high impact, the pain was severe and I couldn’t get up,” Claudia recalled. “Thankfully some neighbors were able to use my phone to call my husband.” 

Her husband drove her to the Swedish Hospital Emergency Department, where Dr. Krister Johansson, a board-certified family medicine practitioner ordered X-rays that showed broken bones in her wrist and leg. Dr. Johansson suggested Claudia consult a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in injuries of the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand with a special interest in minimally invasive surgery.

Claudia did her research and found that her doctor was very well-reviewed and arranged to see him. He explained that he could expertly handle both surgeries in a single procedure, which would expedite her recovery and potentially get her back performing sooner. Surgery was scheduled for the following week. 

In the meantime Claudia was unable to use crutches due to the broken wrist which made movement and travel difficult. She kept a positive attitude but found herself wondering if and when she would be able to return to singing and dancing. Following her successful surgery, Claudia began an intensive rehabilitation program under the guidance of Swedish Hospital’s rehabilitation teams. 

The first step was working with the inpatient rehabilitation team. They worked with Claudia to increase her endurance and build her overall strength by completing exercises to increase flexibility following her surgeries. “The inpatient rehabilitation team was great,” said Claudia. “The hospital staff had me moving my leg right after surgery with a robotic machine. Then I learned to lift my injured leg with my own arms to keep it moving. They began the process to help me heal and get back on my feet again.”

Once discharged, the Swedish Hospital home health team visited Claudia to continue her rehabilitation process until she could travel to therapy away from her home. Once she could, the next step was outpatient rehabilitation.

Eileen Brusso, occupational and certified hand therapist, worked with Claudia to help restore her wrist range of motion and strength. Eileen also had Claudia use paper taping over the surgical sites, which helps prevent keloid scarring and allows scar tissue to heal and properly form. Jessie Garcia, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Swedish Hospital, helped Claudia restore range of motion, strength, balance and gait in her knee to help her return to recreational activities such as biking and dancing. 

“The entire team at Swedish Hospital provided great care and inspired me to perform again,” said Claudia, who even did a few performances in a wheelchair before she was able to fully maneuver without it. “I greatly appreciate everyone from the ED to the surgery team to the rehabilitation units. They inspired me, and I wanted to give back to them with a performance for the staff and patients.”

You can watch a part of her performance below:

She and her husband were inspired by this experience. In fact, her husband recently switched from another hospital provider to have Dr. Johansson as his primary care physician. Claudia continues to sing and dance and looks forward to her next trip to Paris where she visits every year.

She is also hoping to bring more attention to a patients emotional healing and believes that music is key. She believes that people who hear music can heal faster and certainly enjoy life more.  

“I really appreciate everyone at Swedish Hospital who has helped me get back to where I am today,” she said. “You have all helped me heal and inspired me to give back even more.”
For more information on inpatient rehabilitation at Swedish Hospital, please visit the rehabilitation page.


For more information on Claudia’s performances, please visit her site.

By Bill Ligas | Published March 29, 2016
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