Geaux Hero: After a Work-Related Accident and 37 Surgeries, Ryan Boudreaux is on the Road to Recovery Thanks to Our Lady of the Lake

Nov 21, 2023 | Patient Stories

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Going through surgery requires a lot from a patient, including a determination to heal and recover in order to get back to a normal quality of life.

Ryan Boudreaux has gone through that process a total of 37 times since an accident in March brought him to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

Ryan was involved in an accident that pinned him between two forklifts, fracturing his right acetabulum (the socket of the hipbone) and the right side of his pelvis.

The care team at Our Lady of the Lake’s Level I Trauma Center treated him for the multiple injuries as well as infections that developed in his legs and pelvis because of the accident. He also required skin grafts for the severely damaged skin and soft tissue at the site of the impact on his pelvis.

Through his prolonged recovery, plastic surgery, skin transplants and additional treatments for infection, Ryan has remained in inpatient care at Our Lady of the Lake for nearly eight months.

In July, Ryan was transferred to the inpatient rehabilitation unit within the hospital, putting him under the care of John-Paul Tortorich, DO, for physical medicine and rehabilitation.

“He’s undergone surgery more times than any patient I’ve taken care of,” Dr. Tortorich says. “Ryan’s really blessed to have made it through all this. He’s an amazingly strong person with a lot of family support and he’s just had exquisite care from the physicians here.”

On the Path to Recovery

Through three hours of physical therapy each day as well as occupational therapy, Ryan has greatly improved his mobility — from being too weak to even turn himself in bed to now being able to get out of bed and into a wheelchair with the help of only one person.

Dr. Tortorich says Ryan’s trauma care team was immediately focused on clearing him of infection and repairing his damaged skin and soft tissue. The fractures to his bones remain, which will require additional orthopedic surgeries in January followed by more rehab and physical therapy.

“He’s largely bound to a wheelchair for now, but he’s been able to do a lot of things on his own now that he wasn’t able to before,” Dr. Tortorich says. 

And because of his improving health and mobility, Ryan was able to return home to his wife, Vanessa, and two sons in mid-November. 

Through workers’ compensation and with recommendations from Dr. Tortorich and the rest of his care team, Ryan’s home is being modified to make it wheelchair accessible. There is a chance that after his next surgeries, Ryan will be able to use a walker for short distances, but he likely will need some sort of assistance for mobility. 

Dr. Tortorich says he has high hopes Ryan will soon be able to do the things he loves and have a high quality of life. Much of that is thanks to the support of his family, who have been by his side through it all.

“The care Ryan has received at Our Lady of the Lake has been world class and we are so very grateful for everyone and everything that has been done for him through this long process,” his family says in a statement.

Expert Care Every Step of the Way

Dr. Tortorich says Ryan greatly benefited from the comprehensive care he received at Our Lady of the Lake from the moment he came into the emergency room, through surgeries, rehab and discharge.

“He required emergency room doctors to stabilize him. He required the trauma doctors for surgery, plastic surgeons to reconstruct his skin, orthopedic surgeons were there to guide the care to manage his pelvic fractures. And then there’s the therapy team and wound care nurses and all the staff in between,” Dr. Tortorich says. “Without all these specialties involved in his care right here, he would not have survived and not be at the point where he is now.”

Having an inpatient rehabilitation unit attached to the hospital has provided Ryan with a big benefit as well, so he didn’t need to be transferred to a new location away from his doctors to undergo recovery.

“It takes an army of people to help a patient like Ryan and that’s what Our Lady of the Lake has provided and continues to provide for him,” Dr. Tortorich says. “It’s amazing to see his recovery. He’s kept a really inspiring sense of humor and that’s helped him to get through this tough time. He’s been inspiring to the whole staff in so many ways.”

Ryan Boudreaux is being honored as one of Our Lady of the Lake’s Geaux Heroes, which recognizes incredible stories of strength and resilience. He and his family are being recognized on the field of Tiger Stadium during the LSU football game on Nov. 25.

Learn more about comprehensive care at Our Lady of the Lake Health as well as excellent trauma care throughout our healthcare system.

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