Back In The Ball Game
As a physical education teacher, Robert McLaughlin, 50, of Franklin, knows the importance of staying active. Yet his recurrent knee pain oftentimes impaired his mobility both on and off the playing field. He struggled to pitch during student baseball games, move gym equipment and climb the stairs that led to his office above the school’s field house. “I had to limp up the stairs grimacing,” he recalls. The pain forced him to occasionally teach from the sidelines. Eventually, his knee pain became unbearable. “I was in excruciating pain and knew I couldn’t handle it anymore,” he recounts.
His primary care physician sent him for an MRI at Milford Regional that revealed a torn meniscus—a common knee injury often due to either sports-related trauma or degeneration of the meniscal tissue. Robert was referred to David Magit, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Milford Regional who practices at UMass Memorial Orthopedics at Milford. Dr. Magit recommended that Robert undergo arthroscopic surgery—a minimally invasive procedure where an arthroscope (small fiber optic camera) is inserted into Robert’s knee joint through a small incision to repair his torn meniscus. “We’re able to access the joint through the arthroscope in cases that would otherwise need to be done with massive, open incisions,” Dr. Magit explains.
The benefits of arthroscopic surgery include less pain and a quicker recovery time. Usually, the surgery does not require an overnight stay. “Oftentimes, the amount of pain the patient has after surgery from an open incision is completely obviated by the arthroscopic technique, which is an incredible advantage,” Dr. Magit points out. In addition to the knee, Dr. Magi notes that arthroscopic surgery is also very effective in repairing defects, abnormalities and injuries of the shoulder and elbow as well.
What appealed most to Robert about Dr. Magit was his communication style and confidence. “Dr. Magit is very concise and precise,” he notes. “He immediately makes you feel confident that he’s going to go in there and take care of the problem.”
Dr. Magit, who performs 20-30 arthroscopic surgeries per month at Milford Regional, completed a fellowship in sports medicine at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles where he worked with world renowned surgeons, diagnosed and treated a wide variety of injuries and provided care for athletes on several professional sports teams. “I like to bring the care I provided to professional athletes in Los Angeles to a community hospital like Milford,” says Dr. Magit, who above all else considers himself a patient advocate. “I take my role very seriously and want to make sure that every patient gets the same experience.”
He especially enjoys the community atmosphere at Milford Regional and the opportunity the environment lends towards more personalized care. “It’s extremely gratifying to be able to spend more time with patients to make sure they understand their medical issue and potential options for treatment,” he states. “The quality of the care that patients get at Milford is first rate.”
In addition to Dr. Magit’s expertise and ability to put him at ease, Robert was also drawn to the attentive care he knew he would receive at Milford Regional. “I once went to Milford’s ED and also had a couple of other minor procedures there,” he recalls. “I always had a good experience.”
On the day of his pre-admission testing, staff members drew blood, performed a baseline EKG, and provided him with instructions for how to properly use his crutches. “They do a really good job of preparing you not only for the surgery, but for after the surgery as well,” he affirms.
Robert says his surgery couldn’t have gone smoother. He was particularly impressed by all of the steps staff members took to ensure his safety. They repeatedly asked for his name, date of birth and checked his identification bracelet to confirm his identity. “I was really impressed that they had these procedures in place. It gave me a sense of confidence,” he says, thankfully. “I said my name right up until the time I went under anesthesia.” In the operating room, the OR staff continued their safety procedures by checking for Dr. Magit’s initials marked clearly on Robert’s left leg to indicate the proper surgery site.
During the procedure, Robert was placed under general anesthesia and also received a regional nerve block to provide continued pain relief for 10-15 hours after surgery; a state-of-the-art combination that Dr. Magit believes is an essential and highly effective pain management therapy for patients.
While in recovery, staff members catered to Robert’s needs. He appreciates the individualized attention he received “They asked me to rate my pain,” he recalls, gratefully, “and then gave me a shot through the intravenous line. Two minutes later, they were asking me how I was feeling.”
Following his same-day discharge, Robert used crutches for one day. By day three, he felt better than new. “I was initially skeptical of the short recovery, but it ended up being amazing!” he says enthusiastically.
Dr. Magit prepared a packet of information for Robert’s physical therapist that included specific instructions to help build range of motion and strength. Robert continues to perform many of the exercises he learned and from time to time, he also climbs the colossal staircase at Patriot’s Place in Foxboro for exercise—a feat that would have been nearly impossible before his surgery.
Today, Robert lives pain-free and says he can more easily teach and keep up with his students. “I bound right up the stairs with the kids now,” he says, laughing. He’s also able to participate far more easily in class activities such as baseball games. “It’s enjoyable to be able to pitch pain-free, control the game and be involved as well,” he says with relief. “I’m glad things went as well as they did. My experience with Milford has been fantastic. I would certainly recommend it. Milford Regional is a little jewel right here in the metro area.”
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