Loma Linda University Medical Center's (LLUMC) Department of Orthopedic Surgery has helped thousands of adult and pediatric patients achieve long-lasting results and a pain-free lifestyle. Read our patient stories below:
Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse
83 years old
Reverse Shoulder Replacement
"I owe Dr. Phipatanakul everything because I was able to take-up my career. I don't know what I would have done if I couldn't play again."
Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse is a distinguished, world-renown musician. She is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, student at the Juilliard School of Music, concert recitalist, soloist and composer.
A fall in the middle of the night left her with a fractured humerus, disabling her from playing the violin and conducting the orchestra. Her life took a drastic turn following this unfortunate incident, putting a halt in her career – her life's passion.
"The violin has been my life," says Dr. Rittenhouse, "and it was gone; I couldn't do it."
At age 83, Dr. Rittenhouse was not ready to retire.
"There were no answers," she explains, "no one could tell me if I would play again."
A few months later, she stumbled on an article in the Adventist Review of women who had similar arm fractures and were new again upon receiving treatment by physicians at Loma Linda's Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Rittenhouse decided to come to Loma Linda for a consultation.
At the meeting, something remarkable happened: "Wouldn't you know it?" asks Dr. Rittenhouse, "He plays the violin. He knew exactly how I needed to use my arm. He understood what I needed to do perfectly."
Dr. Phipatanakul made his evaluation, looked at her x-rays and determined she was an excellent candidate for a reverse shoulder replacement. Dr. Rittenhouse had her surgery and after a few months of recovery, walked on stage in Carnegie Hall and was the first violinist under the direction of conductor-composer John Rutter.
“I am grateful and thankful for what Dr. Watkins did, and everyone in my care.
My injuries haven’t changed my hand function or my physical capability. I can still type."
Richard and Rosaria Lawrie look forward to major holidays, leaving the city and joining more than a dozen families, all friends from church, in Glamis. The Glamis dunes are constantly changing; and hundreds of miles of desert trails have created its reputation as a premier site for off-roading in California.
As President’s Day weekend, 2008, began, the desert was beautiful as Rosaria and Richard took their first ride of the day. “We were in a Razor ATV, a 2-seater with a roll bar. We were at the front of the line,” she remembers. “There were vehicles with kids behind us so we were being careful.”
As they traveled up the side of a sand dune, “I felt like we were going to flip,” says Rosaria. She grabbed the roll bar as the Razor’s wheels lost contact with the ground.
Their friends rushed to help. They hadn’t collided with anyone and Rosaria thought she was OK until she felt the pain. Her first thought: “I think I’ve hurt my hand.” As she saw the injuries—four fingers on her right hand had nearly been amputated— “I just wanted to get out of the desert.”
As time passed, the possibility that Rosaria’s fingers could be saved lessened. Hospitals in Palm Springs and San Diego weren’t able to take her; Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus was the third call. The answer was “yes.”
Rosaria met Dr. Barry Watkins as she was being wheeled to surgery. “He asked what I do for a living,” she says. “I told him: I’m an administrative assistant. I type all day.” Dr. Watkins replied: “I’m going to do the best I can for you.” Dr. Watkins, the physician on call, is chief, section of hand surgery. “This was not a coincidence,” says Rosaria. “I am convinced that God was with me that day.”
Dr. Watkins meticulously cleaned sand from Rosaria’s wounds; he repaired broken bones, placed pins and wires, and reattached severed arteries and veins. Whe remained in the hospital where she received hyperbaric treatments, her hand protected by a special bandages and padding. “One day a chaplain came into my room,” she says. “He asked: ‘if Jesus were here, what would you say to Him?” “I replied, ‘I am thankful. I haven’t lost anything. I have my hand.’ This was a crossroads for me. In that moment I chose not to feel self pity; but to be grateful.”
Loma Linda University Medical Center’s orthopedic surgeons specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system for patients of all ages. The department treats a wide range of orthopedic conditions including:
- Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Bone Cancer
- Hand (Hand Anatomy)
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Hand Surgery
- Joint Replacement
- Hip Replacement Surgery
- Knee, Ligament Injuries
- Knee Ligament Repair
- Knee Problems
- Knee Replacement Surgery
• Gary D. Botimer, MD
• William P. Bunnell, MD
• Thomas R. Burgdorff, MD
• Wayne K Cheng, MD
• Olumide A. Danisa, MD
• Christoper M. Jobe, MD
• Scott C. Nelson, MD
• Wesley P. Phipatanakul, MD
• Barth. B. Riedel, MD
• Lorra M. Sharp, MD
• Hassan M. Syed, MD
• Barry E. Watkins, MD
• Montri D. Wongworawat, MD
• Virchel E. Wood, MD
• Lee Zuckerman, MD
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