‘Remarkable patient’ from Victoria walks again
Orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey B. Wood, M.D., calls Marie Simper “remarkable.”
Over the years, Wood – a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon – has seen it all while helping thousands of patients at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Sugar Land. But when Simper walked into his office in May for her post-surgery follow-up, even he was amazed.
One year earlier, the 76-year-old Simper had made one last attempt to relieve her suffering, making an appointment with Wood. At the time, she was essentially paralyzed – an old neck surgery had led to a massive disc herniation above the previous surgical site.
“It started in March of 2018 and just got progressively worse,” said Simper. “I couldn’t move or walk. I couldn’t even feed myself because I couldn’t use my arms and hands.”
Simper believed that her treatment options were limited. However, in May of last year, a colleague of her granddaughter’s recommended Wood. “She told us that if anyone could help, it would be Dr. Wood,” said Simper. She was quickly transferred from Citizens Medical Center in Victoria to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.
After an examination and diagnostic imaging, Wood scheduled her surgery immediately.
“Marie’s situation was serious,” recalled Wood. “She was in real danger of permanent paralysis. In fact, I was concerned that even with surgery, she might not walk again because of the damage to her spinal cord and the nerve atrophy from being immobile for so long.”
Simper’s surgery was a success – Wood removed the disc herniation and replaced the disc with a fusion which he connected to the previous surgery.
The patient was able to eat dinner on her own shorty after surgery which she had not been able to do for a long time. She still had a long road to recovery, but the prognosis was good.
In order to regain her strength and mobility, Simper spent one month in a rehabilitation facility in Houston and another six months of challenging physical therapy at home in Victoria.
“I was determined to walk again,” she said. “My first goal was just to be able to walk to the bathroom, and I kept working until I could.”
But she didn’t stop there.
When she arrived at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for her one-year follow-up, she stood up from her electric scooter, and walked into Wood’s office.
“The whole staff stopped,” Simper said. “They said, ‘Oh my goodness … she’s walking!’ And Dr. Wood said, ‘You are my miracle!’ It was a very emotional moment for both of us.”
Looking back, Simper says her experience with Wood, his staff, and everyone at Houston Methodist Sugar Land was exemplary.
“I was so sick and scared, and everyone took such good care of me,” she said. “I am so grateful to Dr. Wood. I am just amazed at how he was able to help me. I would recommend him to anyone.”
After her triumphant entrance at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Simper parked her scooter and hasn’t used it since. She is still working on her stamina, and she doesn’t have full feeling in her hands. But she is up and about and living life again.
“From being paralyzed to walking again is amazing,” she said. “To me, Dr. Wood is the miracle!”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Wood or another specialist at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Sugar Land, visit houstonmethodist.org/orthopedics-sl or call 281.201.0409.