My 18-year-old son, Christopher, graduated from high school in the spring of 2019. This fall Chris will be attending the University of Maryland as a student-athlete and member of the Terrapins baseball team.
In March of 2018, Chris (a high school junior at the time) thought his dreams were shattered. He suffered an injury to his right elbow while pitching. We first sought treatment from Dr. Jim Steinberg, a wonderful, and well-respected orthopaedic surgeon in Frederick, Maryland.
After reviewing Chris' MRI and a conducting a physical examination, Dr. Steinberg explained that Chris had torn his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). The most likely treatment would be UCL Reconstruction surgery, commonly known as Tommy John surgery.
Dr. Steinberg thoroughly explained the injury and stated that if he performed Tommy John surgery on Chris, his recovery would take 12+ months. He would likely miss the majority of his high school senior season.
Dr. Steinberg recommended we get a second opinion. He suggested we travel down to Birmingham, Alabama to get a surgical consult from Dr. Jeffrey Dugas. Dr. Steinberg explained how Dr. Dugas had been instrumental in developing 'an alternative to Tommy John surgery' and there was a possibility Chris may qualify for "Dr. Dugas' surgery" if he had a partially-torn UCL vs. a fully-torn UCL.
That very day, I called Andrews Sports Medicine in tears; we were desperate for help. I spoke with Dr. Dugas' appointment scheduler, Sara, who patiently and calmly explained the process of scheduling UCL tear consults with Dr. Dugas. She thoroughly explained that due to high demand, Dr. Dugas' UCL tear consult policy required us to complete a "UCL Record Review Packet" and that all of the required information had to be sent to her via a trackable shipping service (FedEx, UPS, etc;).
While we were still on the phone, Sara emailed me the "UCL Record Review Packet" and promised that if I mailed the completed packet to her that Dr. Dugas and his team would quickly review Chris' records and diagnostics and communicate back with me in a timely and efficient manner.
Sara also explained that if Dr. Dugas agreed to consult Chris' injury that his appointment would most likely be on a Monday or Wednesday and that surgery would be the following day, with on-site PT taking place that Wednesday of Friday morning, depending on the day of surgery.
I printed off the packet and within the next 24-48 hours, I pulled all the required elements together - completed the registration form, made copies of our insurance cards and obtained Chris' MRI, MRI report, clinical notes from Dr. Steinberg office. I FedExed all the items to Sara's attention.
Within two days, Sara confirmed receipt of the packet (via email) and stated that once Dr. Dugas reviewed the packet, she would follow-up with me. The next day Sara called to confirm Dr. Dugas had reviewed and agreed to a second-opinion consult with Chris and our family. We scheduled an appointment with Dr. Dugas for Monday, May 14.
We drove 10+ hours to Birmingham for our consult. Andrews Sports Medicine felt like the Disney World of doctors' offices - from the friendliness of all the staff all the way to Dr. Dugas' bedside manner. There were a lot of mechanical issues we did not understand, but Dr. Dugas helped us realize those.
During our Monday consult, Dr. Dugas confirmed Chris had a UCL proximal tear. From the MRI, Dr. Dugas strongly believed that Chris had a partial UCL tear and that he was a candidate for the UCL repair with internal brace surgical procedure. However, he explained that if we moved forward with surgery with him that he would intraoperatively (during surgery) determine if he would perform the repair vs. reconstruction (Tommy John surgery) based on laying his eyes directly on Chris' UCL pathology.
Dr. Dugas thoroughly explained the benefits and risks of the surgery, along with the return-to-play projections. After giving us a few minutes to discuss privately as a family, we elected for Dr. Dugas to perform Chris' surgery the next day. We were then introduced to Dr. Dugas, surgical scheduler, Christiana, who had us complete some additional paperwork and provided all the instructions we needed for the following day.
On the day of Chris' surgery, Dr. Dugas came in, sat and watched tv with Chris before surgery. We got calls throughout the entire surgery to let us know how Chris was doing and we were walked through the surgery step-by-step. Fortunately, Chris' UCL was partially torn and Dr. Dugas was able to perform a UCL Repair with Internal Brace procedure.
When it came time to check out of the hospital, Dr. Dugas discharged us himself and went through the paperwork. He doesn't have the time to do it, but he takes the time to do it.
During Chris' rehab process, he was able to call Dr. Dugas and he knew exactly who he was, and knew everything about him, which made us feel a part of his family. Along the journey, we learned about Dr. Dugas' wife and his kids as well. This made everything very personal and gave us the best experience.
I would send anyone and everyone to Andrews Sports Medicine.
Stacey Chaney - Chris' Chaey's Mom