1.) What is your position and role at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare? I am a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and director of the James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis. I work with our gait lab team — which includes engineers, technicians, and physical therapists — to gather information to understand problems with movement.
2.) What has been one of your most rewarding moments at Gillette? The most rewarding moments are developing long-term relationships with children and their families. I have some families that I’ve been seeing for more than 20 years.
3.) How do you fit into caring for those who have cerebral palsy? As an orthopedic surgeon, I focus on problems that impact a child’s bones and joints. For children who have cerebral palsy, even when spasticity is diminished, they still can have problems with their bone and joint alignment. We want their muscles to have the best capacity that they can, so correcting a bone and joint deformity will help them with that.
4.) What are the benefits, both professionally and for our patients, in working with an interdisciplinary team? Care for children who have cerebral palsy or other disabilities needs to be comprehensive because certain medical conditions can affect many different functions. That could be communication, it could be eating, it could be mobility, it could be problems with seizures, or learning. We offer all of those services here as part of a team in one organization. And because my colleagues and I know each other, I can trust that my patients are going to receive good care - and caring care – with any specialist they see. Then I can concentrate on what I think I do best. And we all know that no one can be the best at everything!
5.) What innovations or advancements have you seen that benefit our patients? Our Gait Lab is one of the best in the world and was the first to be accredited. There are only 10 - 15 accredited Gait Labs in the country. Accreditation indicates high quality and also dedication to patient care. Our Gait Lab also has a tremendous amount of experience. It’s one of the two or three oldest Gait Labs in the country – and certainly one of the busiest in the country in terms of the number of patients we see each year. With that comes a lot of experience and understanding of our patient population.
6.) What advice would you give a parent with a child who has cerebral palsy? In my practice, it’s not very common that I’m telling the child or the family that “you have cerebral palsy.” They already know that, and that can be a devastating thing to hear for the first time. From there, it’s time to pick up the pieces and say, “Okay, you know that you have cerebral palsy. Let’s make sure you understand what cerebral palsy means. Now what are we going to do to help?” Most people gain comfort from knowledge. We try to educate, answer questions, clear up misconceptions — and because families see all of us Gillette specialists working together, they’re not getting this piece of information from this person, that piece of information from another person. They’re getting all of it together from a highly coordinated team.
7.) How and why did you become an orthopedic surgeon? I went into orthopedics because I like mechanical things and I like sports. However, I did not know that I wanted to work with pediatric patients. Within two weeks of starting my pediatric orthopedics rotation during my residency, I went home and told my wife, “I know what I want to do.” It was the opportunity to influence the way children grow and the opportunity to work with kids and their families.