Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Duke Sports Medicine meets Duke Lemur Center

Dr. Dean Taylor and his surgical fellow, Dr. Alfred Cook are delighted with the outcome for one of their most unusual patients - Wizard, a collared lemur.
For Dr. Dean Taylor, Orthopaedic Surgeon with Duke Sports Medicine, and his fellow, Dr. Alfred Cook seeing patients like Duke athletes: basketball player, Greg Paulus; swimmer, Ashley Twichell, and tennis player, Jared Pinsky is all in a day's work. But Duke Sports Medicine serves athletes of all levels and ages, so they are used to seeing patients who names are less well-known. Still, February 13 was special. Duke Sports Medicine added a category to patients served: athletes of all levels, ages, and species!

Dr. Taylor repositions Wizard's dislocated elbow.
Wizard, a 13-year-old collared lemur had dislocated her elbow and fractured her radius. While lemurs are masters at leaping and climbing, occasionally they miss a jump or land on a branch that breaks under their weight. In the wild, this would have been a debilitating, if not finally fatal injury. At the Duke Lemur Center, however, the Primate Technicians are on the ball, and Wizard's injury was quickly spotted. Wizard was treated by the world's leading Lemur Veterinarians, Drs. Cathy Williams and Dr. Bobby Schopler. Drs Williams' and Schopler's care was swift and appropriate.

Drs. Cook and Schopler work together to help Wizard.
But lemurs are endangered animals, and the fact that these unique creatures occur naturally in only one place in the world, Madagascar, gives the work at Duke Lemur Center a sharp focus and makes it urgent that we succeed in studying and caring for these irreplaceable treasures, who are irretrievable resources. Enter Dr. Dean Taylor and his excellent team: Dr. Alfred Cook, PA Scott Gibson, and Synthes Orthopaedic Equipment Representative, Allan Burris - all of whom donated their time to care for a rare animal the size of a small house cat. (Wizard weighs 6 lbs.)

Drs. Cook and Williams help Wizard adjust to her new splint.
Everything went well. Wizard's fracture-dislocation of the right elbow was manually reduced and immobilized (closed reduction followed by splint immobilization) without having to do open surgery. Wizard is sporting her neon pink splint and enjoying lots of treats and attention. Soon she will be scampering up trees and leaping from limb to limb with her fellow lemurs - totally unaware of the team of folks who shared their skills and opened their hearts to one small, endangered, and very appealing lemur.


  1. Great example of collaboration from various departments at Duke!

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  3. Brilliant. I want so badly to be the vet tech who assists with those sort of procedures. One day!