She was in the air.
Her 5’5” tall and 120 lbs. body pounded violently against the pavement with full force.
Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Megan Glaister leads a vice squad — a police division whose focus is stopping public-order crimes. On this day, Sgt. Glaister and the vice squad were conducting a “john sting.”
Unbeknownst to Sgt. Glaister, while she was alone outside of the van that held the arrested men, one of the “johns” had broken free of his restraints. As she opened the van door, he struck her like a linebacker.
They wrestled fiercely. He slammed her head against the ground to knock her unconscious. Sgt. Glaister fought hard and worked to maintain consciousness.
Then he strangled her — a deadly maneuver.
She reached for her weapon. He noticed. As he moved to grab the weapon from her, he peeled back her index finger, snap — broken.
Sgt. Glaister recalled her extensive training. She interlocked her broken and damaged fingers over her weapon to prevent him from taking her weapon. Realizing he couldn’t take it. He started body slamming her.
Again. Again. Again.
Five times. That’s how many times the assailant, 6’4 tall and approximately 275 lbs. tried to break her body. Sgt. Glaister stayed level-headed. While he was stronger, she was smarter.
“They’re coming back. They’re coming for me,” yelled Sgt. Glaister, referring to her unit.
She tried to hit the emergency button on her radio. He grabbed it, ripped it off the clip. And ran off.
Words prevailed. But the damage was done.
Time passed. The event was behind her, but for Sgt. Glaister the trauma lingered.
Physically, she experienced radiating pain from her legs to her back that disrupted her life. At work, she wore about 30 lbs. of gear and needed to be physically prepared for anything. Eventually the pain slowed her down. Someone recommended she reach out to Amandeep Bhalla, M.D., orthopedic spine surgeon, Spine Center, MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center to discuss options to treat her pain.
X-rays showed that Sgt. Glaister was experiencing instability in her spine and compression on her spinal nerve roots which are responsible for stimulating movement and feeling throughout the body.
Dr. Bhalla and Sgt. Glaister worked together to identify the best treatment options for her pain. Sgt. Glaister tried conservative (non-surgical) treatment options, working through various treatment options. The decision to have spine surgery came after conservative treatment options failed to provide her relief from the pain.
“Dr. Bhalla set my expectations about spine surgery,” said Sgt. Glaister. “He took the time to answer my questions and reassured me that we both had the same goal — to make sure I could get back to work and do my job well.”
Dr. Bhalla explained that one of the ways he would enhance her surgery was by using advanced technology, called ExcelsiusGPS® during her surgical procedure. Long Beach Medical Center is the only hospital in LA County with ExcelsiusGPS — a robotic-navigation technology that elevates precision in spine surgeries to improve surgical accuracy and enhance safety and patient outcomes.
Dr. Bhalla used it to create a surgical plan based on Sgt. Glaister’s unique anatomy, guiding the robotic arm to a specific region of her spine, similar to a planned pathway on GPS.
Sgt. Glaister had spine surgery at Long Beach Medical Center in October 2019. Using a revolutionary approach to recovery, the care team had Sgt. Glaister walking less than 12 hours after surgery. Thanks to her disciplined approach to her recovery, Sgt. Glaister was able to return to work three months later.
Today, she is back to serving her community pain-free.
“If there is one thing I learned, it’s don’t wait,” says Sgt. Glaister. “Living in pain, just isn’t living. Find a surgeon you trust that’s experienced and hospital that embraces advanced technology for surgery to help you get back to your life. Nothing is more important than that.”