P. David Pappert
Some 15 years ago, after thorough due diligence, including conversations with some of his peers, I sought Dr. Shaffer’s help for a torn rotator cuff, his declared specialty. Before his first touch, I felt the depth and breadth of his medical skills exceeded his reputation. More importantly, I sensed his willingness to take ownership of my problem; to make a personal investment in my repair. Clearly, his gratification depended on my successful outcome.
During subsequent visits over the years, I further realized his interest in helping patients went well beyond his specialty. He graciously offered tentative diagnoses and invaluable advice on other of my orthopaedic issues, several ignored by other doctors. He personally intervened on my behalf, enabling and introducing me to medical expertise and resources outside his practice, medical care that I could not have discovered without his guidance.
Dr. Shaffer is the complete physician: he heals the person. Hippocrates must be proud of him.
I had two surgeries with Dr. Shaffer: one in 1996 on a progressively worsening rotator cuff tear left shoulder that began with ski injury. Thirteen years later, in 2009, I had surgery for an extensive acute rotator cuff tear, with extreme pain, after I fell while running.
Dr. Shaffer does not rush to do surgery. He explains non-surgical options, and pursues them. He recommends surgical intervention only when he is satisfied non-surgical options are exhausted.
Immediately following each of the cuff repairs, Dr. Shaffer thoroughly and patiently explained the procedure, outcome, and my status to my wife. Near term and long term follow-up with me was to ensure that I reached physical therapy milestones. Dr. Shaffer had different office assistants for each of my surgeries; both were well trained -- technically and in patient relations.
Dr. Shaffer is, above all, a skilled orthopedic surgeon. In the case of my two surgeries, that skill was tested because of the extent of damage. To gain a favorable outcome with a difficult injury, the combination of a talented surgeon and patient compliance with physical therapy is essential. That was my experience with and after surgery by Dr. Shaffer. With respect to range of motion, strength and comfort, I could not have had a better long-term result -- in both instances. Also, Dr. Shaffer has a pleasant, personable and friendly manner. He communicates in conversation-speak, not in lecture-speak.
I had a knee injury for several months that was bothering me while I ran and worked out. Dr. Shaffer was the first doctor I saw; however, I did get a second opinion. The knee pain was very troubling to me because I am an avid athlete who competes regularly and the pain was interrupting my lifestyle. We had originally chosen another course of treatment, but if failed to solve my pain, so it became clear that we needed to follow a more aggressive approach.
Dr. Shaffer was terrific. He was honest about my options and explained all consequences both positive and negative. I felt very confident that I was able to make an educated choice. By having a second opinion that confirmed the course of action, I had even greater comfort. We chose an approach that addressed the current problem, but also addressed other biomechanical challenges that I faced (even though they did not bother me).
My recovery was very smooth. Dr. Shaffer recommended a great PT and I followed their instructions to the T. Plus, the office staff is a wonderful group of people who were very helpful.
Dear Dr. Barth & Dr. Rudzki,
I am writing to thank you for your tireless efforts to help me become the athlete I am today. Without your knowledge and skills, I would not be able to enjoy the things I love to do. I will set up an appointment the next time I am in DC. Meanwhile, I will send you a complete email update about my elbow in the next week or so. Thank you for everything.
My knee started bothering me eons ago, but I thought if I pretended it didn't hurt, the pain would go away. When I finally gave in, my internist recommended Dr. Lewis as the best, so I went and saw Dr. Lewis. Now, a few months after my knee surgery, I agree. He IS the best. My new knee does everything I could possibly want. The office staff is great, but Dr. Lewis's medical assistant is even better than that -- so very approachable, patient and kind. She could answer all of the questions that I asked, whenever I asked them, and answer them in a way that didn't make me feel stupid for asking.
Chevy Chase, MD
I cut the nerves and tendons in four fingers as a result of an accident using a hedge trimmer. During the initial treatment at the Sibley emergency room, they told me I needed to have more extensive surgery.
My internist recommended Washington Orthopaedics Sports Medicine practice. Luckily, Dr. Moss, who is a hand surgeon, was on call. He took me in right away. I was most impressed with his bedside manners; he was gentle, caring, and took the time to explain and answer all of my questions. Dr. Moss performed the microsurgery for me later that day. Throughout the healing process, Dr. Moss was there, showing his care and concern.
I now have full use of my four fingers and can hardly see the stitches he put in. I was told by the hand therapist that the location and type of the tendon and nerve cuts in my hand were the most difficult to heal and return to full function.
The office staff in both offices have been super. Dr. Moss's assistant has always been there to answer questions and follow through.
I cannot thank Dr. Moss enough. He is a rare combination of outstanding surgical skill and superb bedside manners. And thanks to him, I have full use of what I call my "miracle hand."
When it came time to start seriously thinking about joint replacements, my first impulse was to go to NYC to the Hospital for Special Surgery. However, after checking with a doctor who knew the work at that renown New York institution and the quality of the replacements being carried out by the orthopaedic doctors at WOSM, I decided to have both a hip and a knee replaced by my long-term friend and ski buddy at WOSM, Dr. Unger. Looking back, I can say that that was a good decision. Having the surgery done at Sibley hospital which is close to home made it convenient for me and my family. The recovery from both has been speedy, returning to full time work two weeks after the hip and three after the knee. I can now begin to look forward to another ski trip next year.
My first consultation with Dr. Starr was in the spring of 2008. I sought Dr. Starr because his reputation was such that I considered him one of the top spinal surgeons in the country. I met with Dr. Starr because I had had six back surgeries, and was still in tremendous pain. My pain was concentrated in my back, but also in both my legs which made it very difficult for me to walk.
Dr. Starr is not only an extraordinary surgeon, he is a wonderful person. He studied my MRIs and my X-rays, he talked with me at length, he took new X-rays, and he thought long and hard before giving me his opinion. He demonstrated tremendous compassion and empathy for where I stood, what I had been through to date, and what his best advice was to be. He communicates easily and well and readily explains anything that is asked of him. He exudes confidence by virtue of his extensive knowledge, expertise, and experience. After my first conversation with him I never wanted anyone else to operate again on my back. However, I was unable to have the benefit of Dr. Starr’s surgical expertise until my eighth surgery in May 2009. Following my consultation, I had two other doctors perform my seventh surgery which failed ten months later. To me Dr. Starr is nothing short of a hero. Although I still suffer some back pain caused largely by changes in barometric pressure, my hips and legs have zero pain, and my back, which is now fused from T11 – S1 (8 levels), is structurally sound and solid.
The office staff is an equally wonderful group of people. It is so refreshing to be greeted and tended to by such an intelligent, bright, cheerful, competent group of people. Each one makes the effort to know the patients, know who they are and what they need, and then they are able to quickly take care of them in a most effective way.
Washington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine is a fabulous practice – it is definitely filled with the best and the brightest!
I saw John Starr for acute pain in my right leg and hip and numbness up the leg from the foot. I couldn’t stand comfortably putting my weight on my legs for more than a minute or two at a time. It was excruciating pain. Dr Starr was the first to order an MRI after the routine xrays. Once he saw the MRI, he diagnosed a synovial cyst pressing on the sciatic nerve and explained with compassion but with firm conclusion, that the only relief for the pain was spine surgery. I had previously had other diagnosis including bunches of pills for nerve pain and sciatica. And no one had insisted on an MRI, and no one had suggested surgery. So it was a real shock. I had a second opinion from someone who agreed with the diagnosis but who seemed to me to be less specialized in this sort of spine surgery. And who had no sense of humor. I fell between the cracks of one assistant who was leaving to be married and another, Megan, coming on. But I’ve been a patient of Dr. Rudzki in the practice and I knew how the system works. My estimate of Megan is extremely high. I think the team approach is terrific, but it takes time for a patient to realize that they cannot contact their surgeon directly.
To make an appointment with one of our physicians, please contact the office that is most convenient for you.Chevy Chase Office 301-657-1996
K Street Office 202-833-1147
Sibley Office 202-787-5601