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Bones

Dr. Sundberg’s 60-Year Legacy in Orthopedic Care

Pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Stephen Sundberg, MD, has cared for Gillette patients for more than 35 years. 

Pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Stephen Sundberg, MD, has cared for Gillette patients for more than 35 years. 

As he wraps up his long career as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Gillette Children’s Stephen Sundberg, MD, has an overwhelming thought. “I would like to rewind the years and begin my 35-plus year career at Gillette all over again!”

Dr. Sundberg is set to retire on Dec. 31. His connection to Gillette Children’s started 60 years ago when he was a boy tagging along with his father.

“I’m one of the few people still at Gillette who had the opportunity to spend time at the Phalen Lake location. My father was an orthopedic surgery resident at the University of Minnesota and was a staff surgeon on the hip service at Gillette for fourteen years,” Dr. Sundberg recalls. “When he was a resident at Gillette in the 1960’s he would take me to the hospital when he made weekend rounds.”

https://www.gillettechildrens.org/assets/20170116_Schultz_Chuck_DSC_9007.jpg

Dr. Sundberg enjoys a laugh with Gillette patient Chuck Schultz. (photo take before COVID-19)

Blessed with friends and colleagues

Dr. Sundberg began seeing patients at Gillette in 1986, after he finished his pediatric orthopedic fellowship in Adelaide, South Australia. When he completed his advanced medical training, his goal was to work at Gillette.

“The impression that I was left with as a child was that Gillette was an amazing place and it would be a wonderful place to work,” Sundberg says. “I feel so fortunate to work with a wonderful group of smart and accomplished physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and caregivers at Gillette. This group is dedicated to our patients and to supporting members of our Orthopedic team. I feel blessed to call them my friends as well as my colleagues.”

Dr. Stephen Sundberg in the operating room.

Dr. Sundberg has performed surgery on hundreds of patients at Gillette. 

Phenomenal growth at Gillette

Dr. Sundberg is impressed with what he calls the “phenomenal growth” at Gillette over the past 30 years.

“When I started, Gillette was performing 500 surgeries a year – now our volume is almost 10 times that. When I started, we provided orthopedic care at a single site – now, we’ve expanded our specialties and geography to reach and help so many more kids,” Dr. Sundberg says. 

Though Dr. Sundberg is departing, the Orthopedic team will ensure patients continue to receive the best possible care. “I’m so proud that we continue to attract and hire intelligent, wonderful young staff who will continue to provide this important service,” Dr. Sundberg adds. 

Parting words of wisdom

Dr. Sundberg would like more people to know about the exceptional care children receive at Gillette. “It’s compassionate, comprehensive care that is made available by the most dedicated staff I’ve ever worked with,” he says.

When asked for any parting words of wisdom, Dr. Sundberg had a thoughtful response. “I think we all have to recognize our legacy is short-lived and will be forgotten, but ‘always saying yes’ whenever a patient need arises - the willingness to inconvenience yourself to provide care to our patients – has never steered me wrong.”