Patient Stories

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Patient Stories

At Summit Orthopaedics, we strive for the best service and patient satisfaction. We believe that your experience starts with great service and ends with your recovery. Check out some testimonials from our past and current patients below!

Erin P.

Erin wanted to pursue a dance career from an early age. It’s all she ever wanted to do. She was then faced with a closed growth plate that was going to make that a challenge. Erin came to Summit Orthopaedics as a 13 year old middle schooler after she and her family had seen a video on Limb Lengthening and they decided to pursue that course of treatment with Dr. Beaman.

After surgery she faced seven months with an external fixator as her constant companion. “As a kid you are more emotional, you just want to fit in,” she said recently. “I didn’t know anyone to talk to about it, but I had great support from my family. They tried to make it fun. My mom decorated the fixator to make me feel comfortable,” she laughed.

After three and half months there was talk of another surgery since the Achilles was not growing as fast as the bone. Dr. Beaman designed a splint that stretched it out as she was on her way again. “Once I was able to start walking it was a test to see what I was NOT able to do. It was kind of cool that the leg was now even stronger than the other one.”

Erin continued to pursue her goal of dancing professionally and attended musical theatre school in California prior to becoming a Disney performer in both Florida and California theme parks. She now works in a medical office in the Portland area and has completed an internship with the hopes of working a Child Life Specialist. “I wanted to be in the medical field and help children,” she says. “It’s a huge testament to my experience and to Dr. Beaman.”

Joseph M.

Joseph broke his tibia in 2014 and was in danger of losing his lower leg when he came to Summit Orthopaedics. Dr. Beaman surgically repaired his leg and Joseph was placed in a external fixator to complete the healing process.

“I was in a lot of pain and I actually tried to take it off myself once,” he said. “I’m so glad I didn’t. Dr. Beaman helped me through one of the toughest stretches of my life. I want to give back to someone who gave me so much.”

He is a chef, tattoo artist and the creator of the drawing you see here.

John D.

Unlike most patients, John had to leave the country to find his way to Summit Orthopaedics. While motorcycling in Lima, Peru he was the victim of a hit and run accident and suffered a severely broken leg. “They set the bones with titanium plates and the leg became infected by the time I traveled to Chile,” said John recently. To stabilize the leg so he could return to the Northwest he underwent more surgery. He endured infected bone and plate removal to restart his journey to recovery.

His surgeon in Chile spoke with a colleague in Virginia about where he should go for the next step in his recovery. “The surgeon in Virginia suggested Dr Beaman in Portland,” continued John. “I’m now back hiking in the Balkans strengthening my reconstructed leg. Another satisfied customer.”

That’s three countries, two ends of North America and one external fixator and John is back on his journey.

Mindy C.

I had a complicated ankle injury in the fall of 2006 when I was 14 years old. A trauma surgeon repaired the fractures and sent me on my way, but I shortly thereafter came to terms with the extent of the trauma to the joint as a whole. I was a 14 year old with severe osteoarthritis, which I came to learn is a case that most surgeons run from as there exists no good solution. After endless appointments, many dire prognoses, and countless operations that failed to get me back on my feet, I was referred to Dr. Beaman. In 2012, Dr. Beaman performed an Ankle Joint Distraction Arthroplasty. I am happy to say that this operation and Dr. Beaman's continued support and guidance are responsible for the fact that I am back on my feet and chasing my dreams. I am a professional equestrian; something I dreamed of as a kid but didn't allow myself to consider for so many years when I was able to be only minimally active. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue my dreams and I know that it would not be possible without Dr. Beaman.

Shelly F.

Shelley has been riding horses since she was 6 years old and show jumping since 1986. It is now her career profession. “It’s hard, this horse lifestyle,” she said recently. “My desk is riding six to eight horses a day. I coach young riders as well. It’s fun and totally worth it.”

Her show and competition schedule routinely takes her and her husband from Del Mar in Southern California to Spruce Meadows, the number one show jumping site in the world, in Calgary, Alberta.

After years of wear and tear on the ankles while competing at the highest levels of jumping, Shelly stepped out of her truck and right into a pothole. She was in pain but went on competing through the week end of a Grand Prix competition. While warming up on the last day, she was executing a final hurdle when she came down with the 1400 pounds of force the horse and rider create and did more damage to the ankle. A lot more.

”I heard it snap,” she said. “I could have chosen to quit riding. You can choose to get it fixed or you can give up, that’s not my style. I chose Surgery. I would totally do it again.

“Dr. Beaman did a great job. I’ve had zero problems through 4 injuries. He was so professional and the recovery happened just like he said it would.”

Sally A.

Sally came to Summit after a previous procedure left her with a big toe that pointed straight up. She knew after talking with Dr.s Beaman and Tomczak that she had finally come to the right place. “They were so personable, the most wonderful people I could have asked for,” she said recently. She faced a long recovery but decided to have the bone graft surgery.

“They were not pushing you towards surgery. They said to think about it…it’s a big step, a long recovery. When I decided to do the surgery they made it so easy for me, they treated me as if I was their only patient .” But we know that’s not true. “I refer everybody I know to them. My whole family has seen them. Dr. Tomczak, bless her heart. We are all thankful for her care.”

Her follow up appointments became interesting as well. “It’s a pleasure to wait because you know the high level of care you will receive, she said. “The people in the waiting room, its all they talk about. It’s so worth it.”

Sally is doing well in her recovery and is back to her normal schedule of aqua fit five times a week. “ I received such great care from Dr. Beaman and Dr. Tomczak. I can’t thank them enough.”

Aksel K.

Aksel was with his family while ski racing in Colorado on a brilliant 60 degree day this past spring. He still had his race skis on at the top of mountain when it was time to call it a day. The tee shirt weather had made the course slushy and when he turned to stop his body twisted. His leg did not. The resulting boot break was casted for his trip back to his home in Hood River. His family, which includes a four time Olympic Ski team member father, sought a course of treatment that would allow him to return to his athletic pre teen ways of kite boarding and lacrosse.

“We wanted it to be as clean a process as possible, his mom Amy said recently . “He loves sports and we wanted to see him continue to play whatever he wanted. ” A local orthopedic surgeon texted Dr. Gellman and started the journey back to activity for Aksel.

Dr. Gellman and Dr. Beaman decided on an external fixator was the best route for Aksel’s post surgery recovery. “I thought, this will never work,” said Amy after looking at the device. “It’s a crazy process. It looks archaic. I was skeptical at first and then I was amazed to think he’s fine. He healed great. People would stop us and were amazed he was walking with this ring around his broken leg.”

“The hard part was keeping him out of the water,” she said of the recovery process. “At first he was scared to walk on it and then after 10 days he was running and jumping.”

Nick S.

Nick S broke his leg while playing semi pro football. The leg was not set straight and while he continued to participate in an active life style, by the time he was 29 it was time for more surgery to relieve the pain. Osteo Arthritis had sent in and the ankle slowly degraded again and the ankle was debrided once more when he was 39.

His desire to continue active lifestyle complete with hiking and golf led to him to a discussion with his Seattle based doctor…ankle fusion. “That was not an option for me. Ever,” said Nick recently. Internet research on ankle distraction in 2005 led him to Summit Orthopaedics and Dr. Beaman.

“I tried every therapy money could buy,” said Nick. “What Dr. Beaman did for me bought me another 13 years.” While activities were slowly taken away from him by pain, it was time to make another decision. “By the time I saw him last fall I wasn’t even able to ride a stationary bike.”

That decision is what brought him back to Summit last fall for a total ankle replacement. Nick is all in on his recovery. Just like his Dr. “I have never met a Dr. like him that was so invested in my case. Just before my most recent procedure he says he has been awake last night worrying about my case. The way he approaches things is an extraordinary mix of skill and empathy.”

Evelyn L.

Before Evelyn came to see Dr. Tomczak the numbers were starting to add up. She had endured three procedures to remove bone spurs and bunions that resulted in a nine day hospital stay and probably the biggest number… one infection.

Three procedures later to clean up the infection and Evelyn was into an external fixator. “This is more than I can handle I was thinking. They removed an inch of bone from my right ankle, I had a transfusion,” she said. “The doctors were very honest with what I was facing. They said they didn’t know if they could save my foot. They didn’t give us any false hope and told me I had to do my part.

“Dr. Tomczak gives you strength and wants the best for you. She makes you feel like you are a team and we are working on my recovery together.”

18 months from the start and no return of the infection has led Evelyn to feeling that she can reach her goal of wearing shoes again. Her feet are healing and once things are stable she will find out what is next to get her all the way back.

“If anyone has an orthopedic problem, then this is the place for them,” she said. “It gives them more of a chance of restoring their life.”

“She is my Doctor,” she said recently. “If she ever moves…I’m going with her.”

Allyson S.

Allyson came to Dr. Gellman a few years back and stays in contact with him around the holidays.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude for the excellent care you gave me in December of 2012. I had my ankle fractured and I will always feel that I have the best possible outcome thanks to your skill in repairing my injuries.”

Thanks Allyson. Wishing you health in the coming year.

Sarah S.

Sarah was visiting Spokane with her Another Mother Runner group for an event when they came across a local landmark with a large slide. “We should go down THAT,” said one of her running mates. Never one to shy away from athletic adventures, Sarah was game. The combination of a slick surface from a recent rain and the lack of a soft landing spot led Sarah to a combination of her own…an ankle fractured in four places.

When she got to the local emergency room her mind was racing. She called her husband and then her running coach. The previous fall she had qualified for the Boston Marathon and was intent on running the race the next year. She posted a question on her Facebook page asking for a referral on her ankle once she got back to Portland. Her running world came through for her with the first response. “They told me to go see Dr. Beaman,” said Sarah. “I was incredibly fortunate to land at Summit Orthopaedics. I had a goal to run a major marathon in 50 weeks and they admired my gumption.”

The challenge was made more daunting after being informed after surgery that the fourth fracture was worse than anticipated by Dr. Beaman and Dr. Tomczak. “I respond slowly to medication and don’t remember them telling me its severity,” she said. “I went through most of my recovery like I was attacking my goal as planned. I was highly motivated to get well. Both Dr. Beaman and Dr. Tomczak supported and encouraged me throughout the office visits.”

That following spring she ran the Boston Marathon that she had qualified for pre-slide experience. “I’m not as fast as I used to be but who’s to say that has anything to do with my ankle? It could just be that I’m getting older,” she recently joked. “Running is my passion. Thankfully, on most runs and in everyday life, I don’t think about my ankle.”

Natacha S.

Yoga is Natacha’s passion. It’s how she enters the world. She was studying engineering in San Diego when she came upon yoga and fell in love with it. “I felt like I needed movement in my life,” she said recently. The engineering worlds loss was yoga’s gain and she has been an instructor for the past 11 years.

Natacha’s path to Dr. Gellman’s care started in the Trauma Center in the autumn of 2016. Devastating injuries to both legs and her spine led to numerous surgeries to repair the damage. She had suffered bilateral ankle fractures that also required bone transport on her right leg to allow for her ankle to function well. She was placed in external fixator frames on both legs. “In the midst of the fixator I was frustrated,” she said. I’m grateful now, but to think that I don’t have any pain now after an open fracture and all the procedures is amazing.”

Through her recovery she was able to understand what some of her student s have gone through. “I’m in a deeper place,” she says. Now I know what it really is like to be injured. I received so much positive feedback from my students.”

Many months removed from her fixators and free from leg pain, Natacha has returned to her life as a teacher of teachers within the yoga world. “To be completely independent after my injuries is huge,” she said recently. “I didn’t know if I would have the opportunity to teach and create my passion. I had a wonderful experience with Dr. Gellman. He was so kind, so caring. He really connects with you on a human level and it makes him an amazing human being.”

Larry D.

In the summer of 2014, Larry was travelling through The Dalles. He was on his way to Salt Lake City for business when a school bus travelling at 60 mph turned into his motorcycle’s path. The result was a leg that was broken above and below the knee to go with fingers and a wrist that would need attention as well. The force of the collision ejected 3 inches of bone from his leg that would lead to amputation according to the responding paramedics. Larry was Life Flighted to Legacy Emanuel to begin the process of saving his leg. “I was so fortunate that Dr. Gellman was on call that day,” he said recently.

Dr. Gellman determined a bone graft would be needed to repair the damage to Larry’s leg and get it back to its original length. He was also placed in an external fixator to allow the bones to heal correctly. “It’s amazing that they can align your bones in a fixator while growing bone in your leg,” said Larry. “I had to spend nine months in a fixator that was supposed to be off in six but when somebody that saved your leg says we’re going to leave you in it for a couple more months you believe in what they are telling you.”

While he does not remember much of the first two weeks after his injuries, he often thinks of the team that put him back together again. “My Summit experience was wonderful. Ala, Dr. Gellman and the staff. I was very lucky.”

His follow up in his hometown of Colorado Springs wound up being a Dr. that has studied under Dr. Gellman in the past. “Within 5 minutes of my appointment with him the two were talking on the phone about my procedure. I felt so comfortable about the care and plan at that point. I haven’t had to go back but I know if I do that I will be treated well.”

Larry finished a recent conversation with Summit this way. “When you can get up in the morning, have a hot shower and a hot cup of coffee, it's a GREAT Day - be thankful for it!”

Graham N.

Graham underwent an Osteotomy to gain even leg length that had plagued him throughout his life. He was diagnosed with scoliosis in his youth and the back pain was something he was going to have to manage since he had been told a long term fix was not available. He kept doing what he was instructed while searching for an answer. Chiropractic visits, physical therapy and exercises began to pile up. “I tried everything,” he said.

By the time he was in his 30s the pain had moved to his hip. His career path saw him playing in bands and working as a sound engineer in Portland’s music scene. Graham had to make far too many decisions based on how much pain he could endure. Van rides and sleeping on couches were not options. “It got so bad that I had to try something else,” he said. “I did a lot of research on my own and the first three or four I called were more knee replacement factory type options. Then I found Dr. Beaman’s name. All the reviews were incredibly positive and I was definitely more intrigued with hands, tools and skills. I knew I had done the right thing in contacting him.”

“He trusted my instincts about my own body and its needs,” Graham said about Dr. Beaman’s plan. “There was no question how to proceed. I have a lot of respect for that approach.”

The procedure involved two incisions and a rod placed in the femoral bone to which Graham found instant relief to life long back pain. “It worked like a charm. I was on crutches a lot longer than I expected but if it meant being pain free for the rest of my life I would have spent five years on them.”

He didn’t have to. A few months removed from his life changing surgery and Graham is making plans. He manages a radio station on the Oregon Coast and is looking forward to his upcoming trip to Hawaii where he can scramble over lava rocks and swim in the ocean without pain. “The interesting thing is I have had to decondition my brain from a stress response every time I wanted to do something active. It’s something that was always with me all day long and now I can live my life. I told Dr. Beaman that I hoped he would write a paper about me so no one else would have to go through what I did.”

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