I became an orthopaedic surgeon because...
Growing up on a dairy farm provided me the mechanical skills necessary for hip and knee replacement. The hard work I enjoyed as a child made it possible to succeed in a demanding field. When something broke during haying season, there was no time to order a replacement part. We would go to the scrap pile and build a new part by welding, then grinding down the metal and fashioning it to work. These skills are important in the complex revision surgeries I do to hips and knees.
Everyone thought that I would become a vet, however, I enjoy the personal interactions with patients. I love to listen to their stories and symptoms. They will often give me the diagnosis for their problem with just their symptoms. Every fracture, arthritic knee, meniscal tear….. is a bit different. Every day is exciting.
What is the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon?
Being able to watch my patients walk normally for the first time… with my pediatric patients it is an amazing experience. Many of them have never had a normal hip joint prior to their joint replacement.
In my adult patients, it is rewarding to see them go from horrible pain, to no pain at all. They are able to enjoy life once again. Their entire family is affected in a positive way. Every patient gets a hug and a few of my patients will come in just for a hug. It is rewarding to be part of their road to healing and keeping their joints fit and working well.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Photography, hiking and exercise are my favorite free time activities. With 2 kids in college and only one left at home, I get a bit more time to work out riding my bike, elliptical and swimming. In the morning I will often run down for the sunrise and grab a few pictures before work. In the summer, I will take a few weeks and return to the farm in Washington State to help put up hay. It is a great experience for my kids who don’t get much farm exposure in Hawaii.
In what volunteer activities or efforts do you engage that mean the most to you and those you serve?
Team physician for the Kalaheo Football team. Save our Doctors non-profit founder. Legislative Committee chairman for Hawaii Medical Association. Board of Councilors for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Past-President of the Western Orthopedic Association, Hawaii Medical Association and Hawaii Orthopedic Association.