As orthopedic specialists, we think really knowing your doctor is an important step in feeling comfortable with your healthcare team. At the Kennedy Center, our expert surgical team is passionate about their work, and it shows.
To give you an inside look, we asked one of our orthopedic surgeons, Dr. David Bingham, a few questions about his career as an orthopedic specialist. Dr. Bingham is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, specializing in total hip and knee replacement as well as general orthopedics.
Without further ado, here’s what he has to say about his work, background and what he thinks you should know about your health.
An inside look at being an orthopedic surgeon
Why did you want to become an orthopedic specialist?
Two reasons. First, because it is fun! Orthopedics is a very hands-on, very manual medical profession, and I really like that part. Second, because it has a high success rate. I can significantly help most of the people who walk into my office, which I also like.
Tell us about your education and how long you’ve been in practice.
I got my undergraduate degree in English Literature from Brigham Young University. It’s not a very science-y degree, but I think it makes me a better communicator. Medical school was at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.
My orthopedic training was at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Then, I completed a fellowship in hip and knee replacement at the University of Pennsylvania.
I have been in practice for 9 years. The first 7 were in Quincy, Illinois, and I’ve been here with the Kennedy Center since January 2018.
What’s your favorite thing being an orthopedic doctor?
My favorite part of the job is the visit with patients where I get to say, “Okay, you’re cured. You don’t need me anymore.” One of the great things about orthopedics is how often that happens.
Describe a typical day at work.
In the office, I see a lot of hip and knee arthritis because that’s my specialty, but I also see a little bit of everything. By far the most common complaint is “my [insert body part] hurts.” Sometimes the answer is obvious. Sometimes it’s not.
I want to make sure each patient understands what’s going on, what we are going to do about it and what the expectations are. I draw a lot of pictures, because orthopedics is very mechanical and makes more sense if there are pictures. You’d think, after the number of times I’ve drawn a hip or a knee or a wrist, that I’d be a better artist. I’m not. I’m still terrible, but good enough for teaching purposes.
Who is your mentor?
Most of the surgeons I’ve met have taught me in one way or another. Probably the most important during my training was Dr. Jonathan Garino at University of Pennsylvania. More than anyone else, he allowed me to develop my skills and taught me how to think like a surgeon in the operating room.
Currently, I’d say it is my partner, Dr. McLaughlin. He is an extremely knowledgeable and experienced surgeon. I confer with him on a regular basis and learn everything I can from him.
I think most people either vastly overestimate or underestimate the amount of recovery after major joint surgery. Most of my patients are out of bed (with help) the day of surgery. Most of my patients are able to go home (with family and visiting nurses) the day after surgery. No bulky bandages, no catheter, very little IV pain medication, much less pain than they expect.
That said, it is still MAJOR surgery, and yet many of my patients think that they are going to be all better in a week or two. Unfortunately, they will not. It takes three months to really recover from major joint surgery. If you are still kind of tired and sore at the end of the day at ten weeks after surgery, this is absolutely normal. You’ll get there. It just takes time.
What do you wish everyone knew about their hip, knee or other joint health?
I talk to people all the time who say, “My knees/hips hurt. It’s just old age.” What those people mean is, “It hurts and there’s nothing I can do about it, so why try?”
Well, there is in fact something we can do about it. Life is for living, and my job is to keep you dancing, or get you back on your motorbike, or let you play on the floor with your children or grandchildren. I once got a plate of brownies with a note that said, “I can finally stand up long enough to bake. Thank you.” Best Thank You note I ever got.
Life as an Orthopedic Surgeon
Do you have questions for Dr. Bingham? Give our office a call or request an appointment online. Fix your joint pain and receive your very own hip or knee drawing by Dr. Bingham!