Dr. Danielle Velardi, Grateful to Have an Advocate for Her Healing

Danielle's Story

Jan. 31, 2020, began like most days for Dr. Danielle Velardi, a Ph.D. who has been teaching Spanish at Christopher Newport University since 1992. But during class that day, she tripped over her rolling book bag and fell to the floor, breaking her wrist in the process. As a 62-year-old female with osteoporosis, she was at a higher risk for this type of injury.

Workers’ compensation assigned her to the care of James Kyriakedes, M.D., an orthopedic specialist in hand, wrist and elbow conditions. "Dr. K is just so wonderful," Dr. Velardi says. "He explained everything in depth — he was very thorough. I was struck by how warm and welcoming he was. I could tell that he really cares and loves his job." 

Dr. Velardi found out just how much Dr. Kyriakedes cared when she faced unexpected setbacks during her recovery. Unfortunately, the workers’ compensation program mistakenly ordered the wrong type of physical therapy, and her hand became swollen and atrophied over the course of several weeks. 

When Dr. Kyriakedes realized that her injury wasn’t healing, he immediately stepped in to help. "He was so concerned about me,” she remembers, “and he knew that time was of the essence. He personally called my workers’ comp representative that very same day. Who does that? Things had been slow but with that call, my rep was on it. I was in therapy with a really good hand specialist right away.” 

Dr. Kyriakedes also brought in a Riverside therapist on the spot to provide a free session to Dr. Velardi during her appointment. "That’s just beyond the call," she says. "And even after office hours he communicates through the patient portal, which I love. He’s amazing and he has a great staff.

"Dr. K took my case to heart. He took time out of his very busy schedule and made things happen. He honestly cares so much about his patients."

With the right therapy, her recovery is back on track and even when the COVID-19 pandemic forced CNU’s campus to close, she was able to teach remotely and complete another semester with her students.