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Gillette Orthopedic Surgeon Emphasizes Listening to Patients

Gillette Orthopedic Surgeon Emphasizes Listening to Patients

Gillette, Wyoming resident Jamie Marchetti hadn’t planned to spend Labor Day weekend 2017 nursing a hurt ankle, but a tumble down her stairs left her in pain and hobbling. After a visit with Dr. Robert Grunfeld, Jamie was put in a boot for a few weeks to see how the injury would heal.

“He worked with me on using the boot to see if it would heal on its own,” Jamie said. “One of my favorite things with him is he’s not in a rush to do surgery.”

Unfortunately, after a few weeks in a boot, Jamie was still experiencing quite a bit of pain and discomfort from her connective tissue injury. Jamie said she appreciated the time spent with Dr. Grunfeld addressing her concerns about surgery, but ultimately it was determined that surgery, scheduled for early November, was necessary for full recovery.

“I didn’t feel like I was being pushed into surgery,” Jamie said. “He let me come to the place of readiness.”

The surgery actually ended up being quite involved with multiple procedures to fix the deltoid ligament, syndesmosis (the joint where the tibia and fibula meet) and stabilize her ankle. While her surgery ended up being quite extensive, Dr. Grunfeld said he likes to take a conservative approach before jumping into surgery.

“A lot of times the body will heal itself,” Dr. Grunfeld said. And if it doesn’t, as in Jamie’s case, providing a clear picture of what surgery and recovery will look part is an important part of setting patients up for success, he says.

“The most common question is ‘how long it will take for recovery,’” Dr. Grunfeld said. “It’s always a tough question to answer. It’s usually a longer road than people realize.”

Post-surgery Jamie spent four weeks not walking on her foot before being moved to a walking boot and physical therapy at Campbell County Health Rehabilitation Services.

“Recovery went super well,” Jamie said. “It was smooth for the most part.”

Part of the successful recovery was knowing exactly what to expect post-surgery, something Jamie credits to Dr. Grunfeld for spending the extra time explaining the process and answering all of her questions.

“There was a lot of conversation prior to surgery about what was going to happen,” Jamie said. “He has always taken the time to fully answer my questions. He really recognized me as a person, rather than just as a patient.”

With the help of physical therapy, Jamie said she feels about 90 percent and is anxious to keep working toward that full recovery and regaining her activity level, and being able to rock a dazzling pair of heels.

“I feel like a lot of it is doing it and getting back into it,” Jamie said.

Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer