Tappahannock, VA – Beverly Ellis and Margaret Stevens were employed and approaching 60 when the sharp joint pains started. For Mrs. Ellis, a lifelong Tappahannock resident, it was the knees.
Mrs. Stevens' pain radiated from the hips. Walking became a challenge for this mother of two and grandmother who at the time lived in Chesapeake Beach, Md.
Mrs. Ellis assumed her aching knees were the result of 38 years as a cashier and later bank teller, positions that required her to be on her feet for long periods. The pain forced her to retire early.
Although the two women never met, their stories of debilitating joint pain and moments of despair converged last August when they made appointments to see the new orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Tyler Wind. After medical school, residency, and a rewarding fellowship under noted orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Joseph Moskal at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Dr. Wind returned to Tappahannock to treat residents of the community where he grew up. Dr. Wind is a 1997 graduate of Essex High School where his athletic skills matched academics. He earned a Bachelor of Science in biology at the University of Virginia, where he also received his medical degree.
In June, while visiting her daughter in Montross, Mrs. Stevens read an article in House & Home magazine that profiled Dr. Wind and announced the opening of his practice, Northern Neck Bone & Joint Center in Tappahannock.
She had seen other orthopaedic specialists in Maryland and Northern Virginia over the years. Mrs. Stevens followed one doctor's advice and saw a rheumatologist, but her condition never improved.
Both women tried physical therapy and corticosteroid injections with disappointing results.
"I didn't realize how bad it was until I went with my son and his fiancé and her family to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. I thought I'd rent a scooter so as to not slow the others down, but they were all rented, which meant I'd have to walk," Mrs. Stevens said. With her son at her side, she said, "I'd walk a little ways and five minutes later I'd have to stop because of the pain."
After that experience Mrs. Stevens says she struggled to remain positive. "I told a friend: "Either I find a doctor who can help me or I have to accept that I'm never going to improve,"" she recalled. "I pretty much exhausted any hope of getting better."
A lifelong Tappahannock resident active in her church and the Eastern Star, Mrs. Ellis was determined not to let her bad knees scale back her activities. A month before she and her husband were to leave for a cruise to the Bahamas she saw an orthopaedic surgeon in Fredericksburg. "They gave me some exercises to do and injected a steroid in my knees,'' Mrs. Ellis says. A couple weeks after their return, the pain resurfaced.
Last summer during one of Beverly Ellis' lunch outings one of her friends announced that Tappahannock was getting a new doctor, an orthopedic surgeon, Mrs. Ellis said. "And he was a local boy."
Dr. Wind opened the Northern Neck Bone & Joint Center at 300 Mt. Clement Park in late August 2012. Beverly Ellis and Margaret Stevens were his first patients to undergo knee and anterior hip replacement surgery, respectively.
"He gave me a choice: I could do exercises and take medication or I could have surgery," Mrs. Ellis said. There was no question in these women's minds what they wanted.
In scheduling surgery for her knee, Mrs. Ellis questioned whether she'd be able to participate in a church bus trip to Maryland to see the Christmas play "The Birth of Christ." It was important because as a deaconess at Union Hope Baptist Church in King and Queen County, Mrs. Ellis organized the trip. "I was so pleased when he told me, "Yes, you'll be able to go," " she said. She says she didn't experience knee pain during the event.
Mrs. Ellis' procedure took about an hour. She spent two days at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital (RTH) and received in-home therapy from RTH therapists followed by 17 outpatient sessions at Riverside Physical Therapy in Tappahannock. Mrs. Ellis, who is 63, underwent the same procedure to replace the other knee in June.
Mrs. Stevens said Dr. Wind informed her that not only was she his first hip replacement patient, but also the first to have a double hip replacement since he opened the practice. Dr. Wind performed the second hip surgery about three months after the first.
Dr. Wind says his goal has always been to return to his roots as a fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeon and provide the quality of care in his community comparable to some of the nation's larger hospitals. He's pleased to be affiliated with Riverside Health Systems, which has supported the practice through state-of-art equipment and the latest technology for anterior hip and other joint replacements.
Dr. Wind performs all of his hip replacements through the anterior approach, which allows him to perform the procedure without cutting any muscles, thus decreasing pain, expediting recovery, and improving long term outcomes.
The average hospital stay for a patient after total hip or knee surgery is four days. However, almost all of Dr. Wind's joint replacements are home just two days after surgery, with approximately half of his anterior hip patients and some knee patients going home just one day after their procedure.
Dr. Wind recognizes that any surgery is serious. That is why the practice requires hip and knee replacement patients to attend a three to four-hour session, called Joint University, where a nurse explains each step of the process and answers questions.
"My approach is to explain all the options. I don't twist anyone's arm to have surgery.
I will give my recommendations, but ultimately the patients are the captain of the ship," he says. "It is extremely important that they are comfortable with the procedure. You have to be well informed about the pros and cons. That's why I send them to the Joint University, so they have a game plan as to how they are going to get their life back."
Dr. Wind and his staff follow a strict protocol to improve recovery and reduce potential of infection, including rapid-rehabilitation physical therapy; anti-nausea; and multi-modal pain management. These protocols decrease complications and pain, while improving rehabilitation and outcomes.
Based responses in patient satisfaction surveys, community members are pleased with Dr. Wind's decision to practice in his hometown.
Dr. Wind admits he is a "true country boy from the area" and enjoys farming, woodworking, landscape photography, athletics, and antique tractor and automobile restoration. He is very active in his community, serving as a speaker at local churches, and cherishing time with his family—wife, Ashley, son Tyler II, and daughter, Whitley.
Published: June 25, 2013