Thinking About Orthopedic Surgery- A Father & Surgeon's Perspective

Thinking About Orthopedic Surgery- A Father & Surgeon's Perspective

As an orthopedic surgeon I take care of children from the time they're born all the way through to adulthood. The oldest patient I have is 87 years old. As part of my practice I'm able to take care of all of their musculoskeletal problems, their problems with their bones and their joints.

I'm also the parent of a 33 year old young man named Sean, who lives in a home nearby us in San Diego. He has speech problems, but we're able to understand most of what he says. Being a father of a child with cerebral palsy has really informed my practice. When I sit down and talk to the families and say, "Your child's going to need to have this big surgery." And sometimes I tell them they're going to have 15 surgeries at the same day. And I know what that's like because my son has had 27 operations.

I just realize how hard it is for these families and I don't take that lightly. When I talk to a family, I understand that this is not what they want for their child. They want their child to be better, but they don't want them to have to go through the trauma of surgery.

When I talk to a family about surgery, I realize this is going to be a big thing in their life. They're going to be in the hospital for a week, they're going to be in pain. We manage that pain as well as we can. They're going to be missing out with their friends, they're going to have a year of physical therapy. It's going to take a year to get back to where they were before. It's a difficult conversation, but the reason I can do that every day is that I've done this for such a long time, that I know they're going to be better afterwards.

"It's a difficult conversation, but the reason I can do that every day is that I've done this for such a long time, that I know they're going to be better afterwards."