A Bridge between patients and surgeons

I’ve been a practicing hand surgeon for over 25 years.  During that time I’ve performed over 15,000 surgeries and treated many more thousands of patients without surgery in the form of injections, therapy or many times just with reassurance and providing information.  As I move forward in my career it has become clear that I sense a disconnect between the thoughts and expectations of the surgeon and the thoughts and expectations of the patient.

My goal with this blog is to try and bridge that gap.  I will try as best I can to explain my thought process during the evaluation and treatment of patients.  The topics I plan to discuss will include the common conditions that I treat as a hand surgeon.  My goal is to provide not only up to date information on topics, but also to let you inside my mind so you can get a glimpse of what I’m thinking when I come to a decision.

From your perspective I would like to know what your thoughts, concerns and worries are.  I plan to ask my own patients to help me provide some topics to cover, and I encourage you to get in touch with me via email at richard.smith@orthotennessee.com.  Hopefully this will be a site that can be mutually beneficial and help me to provide better care.

First, a little background information on me.  I was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee , went to college at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and medical school at the University of Tennessee in Memphis.   I did an orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Florida program in Jacksonville, Florida and I did a one year hand fellowship at Baylor in Houston.  I currently work at the University of Tennessee medical center in Knoxville.  I’m a clinical professor in the department of surgery, but I’m engaged in private practice and don’t work with residents.  I practice hand surgery, which for me includes common and complex problems of the hand, wrist and elbow.

On the personal side I’ve been married to my wife Ruth since 1986.  Ruth is a physical therapist.  We have two daughters, Casey and Barbara.  Casey is a third year medical student and Barbara has been accepted to medical school for the fall of 2016.  I have plenty of hobbies outside of medicine.  I love to play and write music.  I play golf, sometimes competitively, and I run quite a bit, having run a marathon and over 25 half marathons.

The ideas I present will be my own.  I’ll try and back up all my opinions with the latest medical information possible.  I don’t have any relationships with any commercial entities, so you don’t have to worry about any outside influence on my opinions.  When I recommend a treatment or procedure, rest assured that it would be what I would want done to myself or to my family.

I plan to post at least once a week, maybe more depending on how much time I have and when topics of interest pop up.  I hope this turns out to be something fun and informative for all of us.  I’m looking forward to seeing where this leads.  Thanks for reading.

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