November 29, 2023

Stories That Move Us: Chris Deegan

Muncie Police Officer Chris Deegan is committed to protecting Muncie residents and keeping the community safe. So when he was injured on the job, he knew he needed expert and comprehensive orthopedic care to not only make a full recovery, but to get back on duty as quickly as possible.

As an administrator for the police department, Chris is familiar with coordinating care for other officers’ work-related injuries. “I typically refer people to Central Indiana Orthopedics and heard good things from the officers I work with about their personal experiences at CIO, so when I injured my shoulder on duty, I knew that’s where I wanted to start my journey of care,” Chris said.

Chris was able to walk in without an appointment using CIO’s Walk-In Clinic to start treatment immediately. After reviewing x-rays, Nurse Practitioner Tricia James suspected Chris may have had a labral tear but ordered an MRI to be sure and referred him to see shoulder surgeon Dr. Jonathan Chae. The MRI results confirmed Chris had a tear in his shoulder – and Dr. Chae chose a unique way to educate Chris on his diagnosis. “Something I appreciated about the way Dr. Chae explained what was going on with my shoulder is he put it into very simplistic terms that I could understand and provided a visual explanation versus just telling me what happened,” Chris said. “He took one of the exam room pillows that had a pillow case on it and ripped it apart, showing an example of what happened to the tendon in my shoulder. He also drew a picture that was easy to understand. I’ve never had a physician take the time to do that before.”

After discussing nonsurgical and surgical treatment options with Dr. Chae, Chris opted for conservative treatments – a cortisone injection and physical therapy to try and strengthen his rotator cuff. But during the course of treatment of his shoulder, Dr. Chae addressed another issue Chris was having – numbness and tingling in his right hand, which started after the injury. An EMG showed that Chris had severe carpal tunnel syndrome and moderate cubital tunnel syndrome in his right arm, which Dr. Chae said he could fix surgically, but would need to do so before (and if) Chris was going to have shoulder surgery. So, the plan was for Chris to have a carpal (wrist) and cubital (elbow) tunnel release, which would relieve pressure on the nerves, and then reevaluate his shoulder pain six weeks after to determine if surgery was necessary.

Thankfully at six weeks post-op, the numbness and tingling in Chris’s hand had resolved; however, his shoulder pain had not improved with conservative treatments, so Dr. Chae and Chris agreed that a rotator cuff repair was the next step. A week after surgery, Chris returned to CIO Physical Therapy to start his road to recovery, and as Chris stated, he “pressed on the gas pedal” for 12 weeks to get back to where he needed to be to return to full duty. Today, he has almost full range of motion back and is pain-free – which is great because not only does he have responsibilities as a police officer, but he also lives a very active lifestyle and has two dogs that are bundles of energy!

Ultimately, Chris’s personal experience as a work comp patient led to him exploring the possibility of CIO becoming the official orthopedic practice for work comp injuries of the Muncie Police Department. “As an administrator of the police department, we are always looking at ways to improve processes,” Chris shared. “Because I went through it firsthand with a work comp injury, I realized how easy it was to have start-to-finish care with one facility.” Chris met with members of the CIO team, the health insurance office and police department administration and discussed how CIO could become the preferred provider for Muncie Police Department work-related injuries, streamline care and get them back to work as quickly as possible. From a Walk-In Clinic to imaging, surgery to physical therapy, there’s a good chance everything they would need to treat their injuries would be conveniently under one roof.

“CIO’s dedication to delivering results is why we partnered, and I would highly suggest looking at CIO as a preferred partner,” Chris said. “It’s not only important to get someone back to doing what they love quickly, but especially first responders so they can get back to helping people. People rely on us, and with the comprehensive care that I got from start to finish, I feel confident to go back out and do my job.”

CIO is proud to partner with the Muncie Police Department and take care of injured officers like Chris, but also have the opportunity to take care of them (and their families) for any off-duty issues that may arise. We can’t thank them enough for helping keep the community safe, and we look forward to helping them return to what they love for years to come.