Leonard Laub, a physicist, technology consultant, and driving enthusiast, remembers turning into his driveway in rural Westerlo on Thursday, September 27, 2012. The next thing he knew he was in a gully, still in his seatbelt, staring at his mailbox that had come to rest on the hood of his favorite car—a 1987 Porsche 928 S4, which, ironically, had just come out of the shop.
Laub had been rear-ended by a driver in a “hot-rodded Camaro.”
“I thought of trying to get out of the car, but I couldn’t move my right arm and my left arm felt numb. It was a good thing I didn’t move because my C2 and C3 vertebrae were fractured and badly displaced, threatening the spinal cord,” he said.
The arriving Emergency Medical Technicians put Laub in a cervical collar and took him to Albany Med’s Emergency Department where a CT scan revealed his serious and unstable injury. In the Neuro Intensive Care Unit (ICU) he was put in traction with “Gardner-Wells tongs,” an apparatus that encircles the head and is attached to the skull with pins to help doctors stabilize the patient’s head and minimize further neurological damage.
But he didn’t stay in traction for long. After 30 hours in ICU, he was sent to the operating room where spine trauma specialist John German, MD performed a five-hour procedure, repositioning the fractured vertebrae and fusing them together with synthetic tissue grafts and titanium rods and screws. Using minimally invasive techniques, Dr. German needed to make only a two-inch incision in the back of Laub’s neck.
“I was so impressed with what the Albany Med surgical team accomplished. I woke up from surgery with hardly any discomfort,” he said.
By 3 in the morning Friday, September 28, Laub was back in the ICU, where he says the nurses are “religious about providing good care.” He went home that afternoon wearing a cervical collar.
“Throughout my experience at Albany Med, I always felt like I was part of the team. No matter what questions I asked, the doctors and nurses were always pleased to provide the answers,” he said.
Laub is continuing his physical therapy, and although his neck is stiff, he doesn’t need any pain medication. He said the accident has fortunately not diminished his “zest for driving,” and he’s now in the market for a replacement for his beloved Porsche.