How I Got Here
I grew up Austin with 3 siblings and a physician dad. We lived in Rollingwood which back then didn't have many houses. Building, fixing and creating were always central to my person. I spent my days fabricating lego empires, constructing tree forts in empty lots, and playing soccer or competing on the swim team. Using lawn mowing and pizza delivery money, in high school I bought a 1966 Ford Mustang convertible and had it towed to my house. With a repair manual for a guide I rebuilt the brakes, replaced the water pump, and eventually got my dream car street worthy. But eventually legos lost their charm, Dr. Barbara Bergin (Texas Orthopedic's founding doctor) tore down my fort and built her house, and I was forced to sell the Mustang because I had driven the tires down their steel belted radials and couldn't afford more. Despite this I never lost my love for building, creating, and solving problems...something I get to do every day in my orthopedic practice.
I attended Baylor University followed by UT Southwestern Medical School, graduating in the top quarter of my class. I fought hard to stay at Parkland Hospital for my orthopedic residency and spent the next 5 years of my life working harder than I ever had or have since. However, it was those difficult years in Dallas that formed the foundation for who I am as a surgeon today. We had a saying back then: See one, Do one, Teach one...at Parkland you either learned to swim fast or you drowned. Finishing my residency I felt very adept at most aspects of orthopedics except for sports medicine so I added an additional year of training at the University of Kentucky caring for athletes and honing my arthroscopic surgical skills.
Having finished my sports fellowship I came back home as quick as I could and have been in Austin ever since. I joined a small practice in Westlake before making the fortuitous decision to join Texas Orthopedics. I also started going out once a week to Marble Falls to see patients and have been going there ever since. During these early practice years I met my wife Ashley when she was working in the Seton Main ER as a student nurse. Our first date was to Red Bud Isle with my two Bernese Mountain dogs, Tex and Tucker...who soon became OUR dogs and who lived to see all 4 of our children born. Our kids- Sheppard, Stone, Jolie, and Myles- are a gift and it's a joy to raise them with my best friend.
In 2010 something happened that forever changed my life and many, many others...a richter scale 7.0 earthquake decimated the country of Haiti. Within 3 weeks I was in Haiti with a medical crew that included many of my partners, doing what we could to aid those who had been affected by the disaster. We amputated limbs, tended wounds, and administered antiobiotics. For 6 months we sent back teams weekly until it was evident that the trauma was no longer the earthquake...it had just returned to normal life in Haiti. My family has gone back with me a number of times. We love the people of Haiti.
Ashley and I joined the Austin Stone shortly after we were married and we truly love that church. To say that God had a part in my journey here would be an understatement. I am grateful to my Creator for everything He has given me...certainly far beyond anything I deserve. It is my faith in Christ that keeps me grounded, reminds me that in a very real sense everything I have I have been given, and compels me to treat every patient as an individual of immense value, made in His image. As I write this I'm 47years old...who knows but God what the next 20 will bring? The journey so far has not always been easy or what I expected but I trust that I am right where I am supposed to be.
What makes me different from other orthopedic surgeons? And I'm not talking about how my surgical results are superior etc.... That goes without saying, but any doctor will say that. I think I'm different, for starters, in that I really value making sure my patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Some people are fine with a surgeon just telling them what to do...the "trust me" approach. Personally, I like to really understand the what and why behind significant decisions in my life...so I naturally provide that in my clinic for patients by drawing pictures, printing X-rays, and reviewing actual MRI images. It's the primary reason why I started creating videos (click Videos above) to help non-medical people better understand orthopedics and the options they have.
Second, my communication style is very direct, honest, and patient empowering. I don't feel like it's my place to make decisions for my patients about how they should live their lives. So if someone has knee arthritis (like I do) and still wants to go to CrossFit (like I do) then I'm not going to shame them...I'll do whatever I can within reason and good medical judgement to help them live their life well, trying to think outside the box whenever possible That doesn't mean I'll cross ethical boundaries for surgical indications etc.... It just means that I recognize there are a lot of grey areas in life's decisions. In those instances my job is to give a complete picture of the situation but ultimately allow the patient to live his or her life the way they want to.
Finally, it's my custom and privilege to pray with any patient that wants to do so before surgery. This is absolutely optional and I don't presume upon anyone's faith...but surgery can be unsettling and I find that the majority of patients appreciate the opportunity.