I became an orthopaedic surgeon because...
During high school and college I participated in sports including football and track and studied science. I was also mechanically inclined and spent many hours tinkering and repairing automobiles. I decided during college to merge my interests of science, mechanics and sports and pursue a career in medicine. During medical school I was intrigued by surgery and the repair of the form and function of the human body. I decided during my final year to pursue orthopaedics because of my desire to fix things and see the immediate results of my work. I was inspired by a clinical rotation during medical school which gave me an opportunity to see and experience orthopaedic surgery and the results. I was amazed by the tools and techniques and the camaraderie of the surgeons. I have not found anything else to be more rewarding than the restoration of function and relief of pain in a patient with an injury or disease that has taken their independence and enjoyment of life from them.
What is the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon?
While serving in the U.S. Navy I practiced at sea on ships and deployed to a variety of locations including the Mediterranean Sea, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean. I also practiced at a variety of military hospitals in the U.S. including a teaching hospital with orthopaedic surgery residents. These experiences have given me wide exposure to a variety of environments and techniques not routinely encountered in a civilian practice. I believe seeing successful outcomes in austere environments where innovative techniques and skill trumped technology has provided me a depth of experience and confidence to manage many orthopaedic problems in a variety of acceptable ways. These techniques can be tailored to my patients needs optimizing the equipment and facilities available for superior results. My mission is the successful management of my patient’s problem and returning him or her to optimum function with pain relief. A happy, healthy patient is the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I enjoy activities with my wife and three children. We travel and enjoy activities as a family. My wife, children and I are active in our Church of the Holy Family. We enjoy boating, fishing and water sports on the Lynnhaven River. I enjoy duck hunting and training my Labrador Retriever. I enjoy watching my children participate in their sports. My oldest daughter is a student and pole vaulter at my alma mater where I competed in the 110 and 400 meter hurdles and various sprint relays. My son plays goalie for his high school soccer team and he is a punter and kicker for the football team. My youngest daughter plays field hockey and runs track for her high school. I have a commercial pilot license with instrument rating that I obtained while in the Navy and hope to encourage my son with glider training this fall. If all works out there will hopefully be a tail wheel rating, tow plane endorsement and glider rating for Dad!
In what volunteer activities or efforts do you engage that mean the most to you and those you serve?
I have been a member of the Virginia Orthopaedic Society (VOS) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons(AAOS) since my earliest opportunity. I have always felt a sense of purpose in my practice and a need to give back to the specialty that has made my career possible. The VOS has contributed to the improvement of the care of patients in Virginia since 1933 through annual educational programs and advocacy for patients and orthopaedic surgeons. I was asked to participate in leadership and volunteered to serve on the board for several years and subsequently as President. It is important to the citizens of Virginia that we have a collegial professional organization that advocates for the highest quality of musculoskeletal care. Through my service at VOS I was recognized for my passion regarding education and advocacy and was elected to the Board of Councilors(BOC). The BOC is the deliberative body of AAOS that represents the rank and file members with representatives from each state, the U.S. territories, the military, regional societies and Canada. In the BOC I served on the State Orthopaedic Societies Committee and was a founding member of the Economics Committee. I believe it was through my activity on the Economics Committee advocating for a level playing field for physicians by educating members and advocating for reform of the McCarran-Ferguson Act that I was recognized for leadership and asked to run for Secretary of the BOC. The Secretary position includes a seat on the Board of Directors(BOD) of AAOS. The AAOS is the premier orthopaedic association in the world representing approximately 19,000 Orthopaedic surgeons. While advancing to the Chair of BOC, I have served the members directly and on councils and committees. The AAOS champions the rights of all patients and advocates on behalf of patients and surgeons to maintain the highest quality of musculoskeletal care. This mission means the most to me and those we serve.