I was making an online appointment to see my GP recently. The website included a small bio of all the doctors, including a statement on why they enjoy their work.
It made me think about the reasons why I love being an Orthopaedic Surgeon. The first reason may sound cliched, but it is the reason I got into Medicine in the first place, like many others, is to help people. Helping people through an injury or a rough time with arthritis is a fulfilling experience.
For instance, I looked after a teenager who injured their knee. They were distressed when I told them that they had torn their ACL, as that diagnosis hadn’t been previously mentioned. Twelve months later, after a knee reconstruction and a lot of hard work on their part, they were back playing football and doing what they loved. Also, hearing someone say, for example, after having had a shoulder replacement, that “you’ve given me my life back” is a truly humbling experience.
When someone presents with knee pain as an example, I also love the process of working out the cause of the pain and making a diagnosis. A couple of years ago, I saw a lady 12 months after a knee replacement (performed somewhere else) who still had knee pain. It turned out that she had hip arthritis with referred pain to the knee. She had a hip replacement, which got rid of her pain and improved her walking ability, for which she was extremely grateful.