Toby Mower
Vail, CO, Colorado

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January 30, 2013
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Vail Daily letter: There are other good surgeons, too

Beaver Creek has much the same grooming situation as Vail. Until last week, I also complained about the grooming. I still question the TV grooming reports, especially how accurate they are when I see slopes that usually have been groomed only occasionally are now groomed for three or four days in row.

Last week, however, I decided that with the little snow they had to work with, Beaver Creek was doing a pretty good job, even though I, like Mr. Wiest, had to play rock dodge while skiing.

As far as Mr. Wiest's comment "What would be the value of Vail without this famous Steadman clinic?" I personally take offense with that comment. Drs. Paul Abbott and John Gottlieb (now ment. Drs. Paul Abbott and John Gottlieb (now retired), now known as Vail Summit Orthopedics, were the very first orthopedic surgeons in the valley, long before the Steadman clinic evolved.

A little over 10 years ago, I also broke my femur, later described as applesauce. But unlike Megan Buchanan (Vail Daily, Jan. 28), my body went into shock so I did not feel the pain and I was temporarily completely alert. Two or three times during the trip from the slopes to the Beaver Creek ER, and then via ambulance to Vail Valley Medical Center, I saw "a white tunnel."

Fortunately, my husband and the staff at Beaver Creek Clinic knew to call Dr. Paul Abbott, from the Vail Summit Orthopedic Group. Five hours later, besides an applesauced femur, a repair was made to my split condyle (knee bone) and my open tibia (long bone below the knee) that went through the skin as well. Sixteen pieces of metal later, including a long metal rod, I was still alive.

Like Megan, it took a year of painful physical therapy. Like Megan, I began to realize that I was in more pain (and I do have a very high pain tolerance level) after physical therapy than before. I called Dr. Abbott from the East Coast, who gave me permission to decrease my PT time.

Arriving back in Beaver Creek the following December I had all the metal removed. Like Megan, I immediately felt like a different person and again took on two months of physical therapy.

Then ... back on the slopes. Yes, I am a little insane but enjoy skiing too much to give it up. By the way, I was in my early 60s at the time of the accident.

Was I allergic to the metal, as Megan thought in her article? I think not. I personally think that long rods in an area are not intended to stay forever. Bone and metal do not twist or turn the same way as the natural anatomy. Certainly, pain could occur.

Yes, Dr. Abbott listened to me when I suggested the metal come out, just as Dr. Cunningham listened to Megan when she suggested taking out the metal. Amazing, two Vail Summit doctors willing and taking the time to listen to their patient!

Unfortunately, the doctors from this group are not given enough credit for the wonderful work they do, and for their kind and compassionate professional friendly manners. I have also used other doctors in the Vail Summit Orthopedic practice and have the same attitude toward all of them.

Unless one is a local, supposedly there is only the other group in town. Yes, Mr. Wiest, there is another group in town who also does phenomenal surgery.

Toby Mower


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The VailDaily Updated Jan 30, 2013 10:05PM Published Jan 30, 2013 10:04PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.