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Healing Hand

The right care for a left hand

Sara Cook-Person and her horse, Tardy.

When she’s not busy working for the City of Liberty as Assistant City Administrator, Sara Cooke enjoys spending time with her kids, husband and three horses on their property about 15 miles north of the hospital.

On March 21, 2021, Sara, an avid horsewoman, led one of her horses, Tardy, away from the usual path. Tardy protested with a kick to Sara's left hand, causing bone fractures in two places on her knuckle and index finger.

“The injury began to swell immediately, so I knew I needed emergency care quickly. I asked my daughter to take care of the horses, and I drove to Liberty Hospital," Cooke said.

After a short wait, the ER team stabilized her hand and made an appointment for Sara to see Andrew Taiber, MD, an MU Health Care orthopaedic surgeon and hand specialist at Liberty Hospital Orthopaedics, the following day.

Sara’s visit with Dr. Taiber left her hopeful. He assured her he was confident she would regain full function of her hand. The next day he performed surgery, placing two pins in the shape of an X to stabilize her index finger and knuckle.

“I was surprised that it was a rather quick procedure, and I was able to go home the same day with a soft splint and a wrap."

Less than two weeks after surgery, Sara met with certified hand specialist Laurie Gray, OTR/L, CHT, CLT, to begin physical therapy. Gray is one of two hand therapists who works closely with Dr. Taiber and his patients.

In late April, Sara underwent a quick procedure to remove the pins and began physical therapy twice a week. On July 2, Sara had her final appointment after months of hard work.

"Dr. Taiber assured me he was confident I would regain full function."

She did not stay away from her horses for long, and was caring for them again soon after the accident. Today she affectionately calls Tardy "the offender."

“It was something I hope never to go through again, but from the time I arrived at the ER, to meeting Dr. Taiber, to surgery and throughout my physical therapy, my experience at Liberty Hospital was phenomenal,” Cooke said.