Patient Stories

The following stories are real patient experiences. If you or someone you know would like to be contacted to give us an account for a Patient Spotlight, please contact: marketing@optimhealth.com

 


Riley Derrick, Torn ACL

A rising senior at Frederica Academy in St. Simons, Riley Derrick is passionate about playing basketball! On February 2nd, 2018, Riley made a fast break to the basket and attempted to jump stop. As she jump stopped, she heard her knee pop and immediately knew something was wrong. 

 After being evaluated by her athletic trainer, Riley went to see James Wilson, MD at Optim Orthopedics and was informed she had torn her ACL. Dr. Wilson talked through several options with the Derricks and they scheduled surgery at Optim Surgery Center. Exactly one month after her injury, Dr. Wilson repaired Riley’s ACL and Riley started her road to recovery.

Thanks to Dr. Wilson and his team at Optim Orthopedics, Riley will be able to play basketball again for her senior season!

On June 7th, 2018, Riley was joined by Dr. Wilson on the Savannah Bananas field and recognized as the Optim Orthopedics Home Run for Health Champion!


Grant Etheridge, Fractured Ankle

It was Monday night, 9/26/2011. I was warming up for a weightlifting session by jumping rope. Unfortunately I was set up on a weightlifting platform and not paying attention to what I was doing. The end result was that I strayed off the platform and came down halfway on and halfway off. My ankle rolled and there was a nice crisp pop. Ouch. Something wasn’t right. I tried to walk it off but it didn’t help. It was swelling and the pain was getting worse. I drove home and showed the damage to my wife. We decided that I needed to get in to see a doctor as soon as possible. I feared the worst. My wife and I had planned a big vacation to India in six weeks and who knows what I had done to myself or to our plans. Read More


Aadam Malak, Emergency Room Visit

It was the week before Miracle Treat Day, Dairy Queen’s busiest and most well-known fundraiser, and Tattnall County DQ owner Zuber Malek was on a conference call with leaders at the national level to plan for the event. Zuber noticed his wife calling his cell phone, but assumed she just wanted him to pick something up on his way home. She did not leave a voicemail, but instead immediately dialed again; he knew something was wrong when he looked down and read the two word text: “Come Home.”

His heart was pounding as he hung up from his conference call without even a quick goodbye. Zuber rushed home to find his 3-year-old son, Aadam in a great deal of pain, unable to move his right arm.   Read More


Ashlee Griffith, Knee Surgery

I tore my meniscus while participating in cheerleading and gymnastics. The tear realigned itself in my knee, so it was not visible in the MRI. After a few months of physical therapy and no progress with my knee, Dr. John P. George decided to perform arthroscopic surgery on my knee to see what exactly was going on. A surgery scheduled for thirty minutes turned into a three-hour surgery, as Dr. George discovered my meniscus was actually three-fourths of the way torn! Because I was only fourteen years old, Dr. George and my parents decided to repair my meniscus and see what parts would allow themselves to reattach rather than remove the entire meniscus. Although this resulted in a much longer recovery period and a lot more physical therapy, Dr. George was able to save over two-thirds of my torn meniscus! Thanks to Dr. George’s incredible care, I am much less likely to experience long-term problems with my knee.  Read More


Beth Buttimer, Plantar Fasciitis

I suffered with heel pain in my left foot for many years thinking the way I walked was the cause of the pain. After mentioning my heel pain to my primary doctor, I was referred to Optim Orthopedics. Since Dr. Jaakkola specializes in the foot and ankle, I made my appointment with him. He diagnosed me with Plantar Fasciitis. After many months of trying to heal the pain, through cortisone shots, exercises, a boot and a night brace, Dr. Jaakkola finally completed the Plantar Fasciitis release on July 8, 2004. Oh, such joy to be pain free! Two years later, believe it or not, the pain began to occur in my right foot. Again, after trying again to correct it without surgery, I had my 2nd release completed on September 12, 2007, Although the recovery was worse the second time because I was unable to drive, I had a full and complete recovery after both releases.  Read More


Bryan Hill,  Broken Collarbone, Separated Shoulder, and Torn Hamstring

Unfortunately, Dr. Sutherland knows me too well. Over the past 3 years, Dr. Sutherland has treated me for a broken collarbone, separated shoulder, and a torn hamstring. Not only has he taken care of my injuries, Dr. Sutherland has helped me understand the importance of taking care of myself, which includes adequate rest, proper stretching and good nutrition. Thanks to Dr. Sutherland, I am looking forward to a healthy season on the football field and on the basketball court.

 


Daniel Corrieri, Partial Interior Knee Replacement

I have been suffering from degenerative osteoarthritis in my knees for several years. The left one had become so bad that I could not walk 100 feet without it swelling. The pain would often keep me up at night and my quality of life was severely affected. In March 2013, I saw Dr. Woo who reviewed my records and recommended a partial interior knee replacement. He explained the procedure and was compassionate to my concerns. I had the surgery on April 22, 2013 at the Optim Surgery Center in Savannah. I was back home by noon that day. I found the level of care by the entire staff in the surgery center to be better than I have had in the big hospitals.  Read More


Daniel Shuman

I am a native of Reidsville; my wife and I have lived in Reidsville now for 48 years and I have been the District 2 County Commissioner for 12 years. When Tattnall hospital was about to close several years back, people were very concerned that they would have to travel very far to receive a high level of medical care. Savannah being about 70 miles away is a good distance from us and it was going to be a very difficult transition to make. Over the last couple of years, since Optim purchased the hospital here in Reidsville, I have seen an upswing in our entire community. Not only has it increased our local economy for jobs but it has literally brought our county together.  Read More


Danny Holden, Lumbar Microdiscectomy

Danny Holden was lying on his back fixing a sink, a routine maintenance task. When Danny stood up he noticed a sharp pain in his buttocks radiating down his left leg. He assumed he had just pulled something, but after three weeks with no improvement, Danny decided it was time to have it checked out. He went to see Optim Orthopedics’ Nurse Practitioner Terry Webb. Terry discovered Danny had a herniated disk and referred him to Optim Neurosurgeon Timothy Phillips. Dr. Timothy Phillips performed a lumbar microdiscectomy in August of 2016 at the physician owned Optim Medical Center-Tattnall.

“I went in for surgery at 9:30 in the morning and was out before noon. I walked out with no pain. You couldn’t ask for a better doctor than Dr. Phillips,” Danny said.


Dick Webb

I had my rotator cuff surgery by Dr. Palmer, which he did fantastically. I had to do physical therapy after my surgery and was so pleased with my therapy in Savannah, that I chose to travel and put about 5000 miles on my car in 9 weeks just to have it done there. I went there twice a week and every minute of it was worth it.

Then last Fall in Savannah, I had my hand surgery done by Dr. Sutker which was phenomenal and I have to also applaud the nursing staff. From the surgeons, to the nursing staff to the therapy staff, the whole program is perfect. My wife and I use Optim for everything (healthcare). Optim offers the total healthcare package and we couldn’t be happier with our experiences.


Flint Smith, Fractured Tibia andFibula

In the first game of my senior year I snapped my Tibia and Fibula. Dr. Palmer treated me with excellent care, and I recovered very quickly from therapy and exercise. I feel lucky to have a great doctor who I know I can rely on, and who has helped me get back on the football field sooner than expected.

 

 


Frances Carter, Knee Surgeries

I have had issues with my right knee for the last 30 years and with my left knee for about 15 years. I finally decided it was time to have them looked at by a specialist, because I couldn’t bear the pain any longer. I began my search for an orthopedic surgeon and through some friends and employees of Optim, I consistently heard that Kent Woo, MD was the person to see about my knees. Read More

 


Frank Hook, Back Surgery and Knee Replacement

In the Fall of 2011, I started having severe back pain. I decided to ask three different doctors who were friends of mine as to who they would recommend. Each of the doctors gave me the same response: Dr. Thomas Lawhorne. I was able to get into see Dr. Lawhorne the next week and during my appointment he told me typically, there are about three steps to go through to try and alleviate the pain before surgery, but that he would be able to accurately find the best solution after my MRI. I had my open MRI, at which point, he told me that I had Stenosis of the spine and that the bone was sitting right on the nerve.   Read More

 


Gina Williams

We are so fortunate in Tattnall County to have Optim Medical Center – Tattnall. A few short years ago, our local hospital was on the verge of closing its doors, and we were concerned about the loss of healthcare services in our community. Besides the healthcare worries, we knew the economic impact of losing the hospital would be detrimental. Just when we thought all was lost, Optim Healthcare came through and bought our hospital. The changes have been astronomical. The people of Tattnall County and the surrounding counties now have first rate healthcare right here in Reidsville, GA. We have the benefit of highly qualified and specialized doctors without having to drive 80 miles.
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Hank Barry, Double Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty

Meet Hank Barry. Hank loves hiking, camping and fishing, but it has been four years since the last time he took the boat out. He found himself scheduling vacations where he would not have to walk or stand for long periods of time. He moved from working in the field as an RN to a desk job because he was worried that if he needed to kneel to administer CPR his knees would not allow him to do so.

Hank played football and wrestled in high school and underwent two knee surgeries before college. He always knew the day would come when he would finally undergo a total knee replacement, but Hank, like most, found reasons to put it off…..until he met Dr. Kent Woo of Optim Orthopedics.  Read More


Harold Rogers, Crushed Disc in Neck

 

Harold describes his pain and tingling from a crushed disc.
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Harvey Hancock, Chronic Back Pain

 

Harvey talks about how he “got his life back”. Read More

 

 


Jack Waterlander, Back Surgeries

Over the last 10 years, I have had many problems with my back, all stemming back from a freak accident moving a heavy fridge that I believe started all the pain. Before meeting Dr. Bradley Heiges and Dr. Krishna Gumidyala, I had had three surgeries on my back to try and fix the issues and had been on a lot of pain medicine to try and ease the pain. After my surgeries, I developed drop leg which was yet another problem that I was dealing with and was also having a really hard time standing up straight. Nothing had seemed to work until my last surgery performed by Dr. Gumidyala and Dr. Heiges in August of this past year.

My first experience with Optim was with Dr. Heiges. He knew about my history with surgeries and was hoping to be able to loosen some of the tension with stimulation and other methods rather than going straight to surgery.  Read More


Jake Owens, Recurring Ear Infections

“The staff at Optim Medical Center Tattnall was outstanding. There is a level of comfort that you get from the minute you walk in that door. They were so welcoming and accommodating, not to mention the facility is so clean.”

When Jake was about a year and a half he starting having issues with his ears. He is now 22 months old and over the last five months has had six ear infections. Visits to the doctor became a regular routine. After Jake’s fourth ear infection, I decided to make an appointment with Dr. Poole. Being in the medical field, I knew that Dr. Poole was the person to see.

When I took Jake in the first time to see Dr. Poole, he immediately noticed that there was fluid in his left ear and anticipated that Jake would have another ear infection within the next week or so.  Read More


Janis Truelove, Total Knee Replacement

Janis, like millions of Americans across the country had a total knee replacement last year. But, what’s unique about her story is that she was the first patient to have an outpatient Total Joint Replacement performed at the Optim Surgery Center in Savannah, by John P. George, MD. She saw the benefits of having it done as an outpatient surgery and was excited to get her life back.

Janis Truelove, a Savannah native, has always enjoyed spending time with her husband and grandchildren. However, for years, she had pain and arthritis in both of her knees that held her back on doing things with her family and also being 100% independent. When her left knee became too painful to walk on she decided to make an appointment to see John P. George, MD. Janis, like many people had been dealing with the pain on her own, but she was at her limit.  Read More


Jim Holmes, Shoulder Impingement

About 10 years ago, my left shoulder started giving me a lot of pain directly in my joint. I have been a photographer for the last 20 years, and I knew that the over usage of carrying heavy photo equipment had finally caught up with me. Eventually the pain got so bad, that I couldn’t lift my arm higher than a 45 degree angle, and I couldn’t lift anything. I feared that the pain in my shoulder would ultimately stop me from doing what I loved most.

I started asking around about which doctor to go see and Dr. James Wilson’s name kept on coming up. I had only heard great things about him and the fact that he had been the team doctor for the Denver Broncos had me really impressed and interested.  Read More


June Jones, Back Surgeries

I live in Hawaii most of the year, and the island I live on does not have great medical care. My husband and I are originally from Adrian, GA. Dr.  Lawhorne was recommended to us through our primary care physician in Swainsboro, GA before we left for Hawaii in January 2011.

I had severe back pain for several years, but in April 2010 I was in a vehicle accident and fractured my L2. After X-rays and an MRI, Dr. Thomas Lawhorne decided the best treatment was a fusion of L2, L3 and L4. This was done at Optim Medical Center-Tattnall in Reidsville, GA on January 24, 2013. The relief was immediate. After my return to Hawaii, I fell and compromised one of the cages Dr. Lawhorne put in.  Read More


Dr. Keith Housman, Bilateral Knee Replacement

Meet Keith Housman, MD. Boston native, Dr. Housman is an Anesthesiologist at Memorial in Savannah, GA. He’s always been an athlete at heart—loved running and skiing. About 15 years ago, Dr. Housman starting experiencing some pain in his knees when he ran. He knew he had progressive degeneration in both knees, but as most athletes would do, he continued to be active through the pain.

He met Dr. Woo several years ago and became a patient of his 12 years ago. Dr. Housman had a few procedures (Arthroscopy and Meniscectomy) with Dr. Woo early on to address the degeneration in his knees.   Read More


Michelle Edge, Back Surgery

Meet Michelle Edge, a 26 year old Soperton, Georgia native who spent years struggling with back pain.

“I grew up on a farm and probably lifted a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have,” Michelle stated.

In 2009, when she was just 19 years old, Michelle underwent her first back surgery. Things improved for a while, but in 2014 she realized that she would again need to seek treatment for her back pain. Michelle tried chiropractic care, physical therapy, and even injections before meeting Optim’s Dr. Thomas Lawhorne.

Michelle suffered from a lumbar disc bulge, also known as a herniated disc. “I went to an appointment and was scheduled for surgery within two weeks,” Michelle said. “I had a job that depended on this surgery.”  Read More


Maria Hughes, Kyphoscoliosis

I started noticing pain in my lower back at the age of 60. I visited my regular doctor often so that I could get shots to relieve the pain. This continued for about 3 years and eventually the shots stopped working. Then almost as if it was overnight, I developed a hump on the top of my back, near my neck. My doctor suggested that I get a bone density test and referred me to go see a doctor at Optim.

I wasn’t sure what my next steps were and quite honestly, was a little unnerved at the idea of seeing yet another doctor about my back pain. When I met with Dr. Gumidyala, I was so hunched over that my height measured 4’10, and I only weighed 110lbs. He suggested that if I wanted to fix the hump on my back and walk upright again, that I needed to strengthen my bones. Dr. Gumidyala diagnosed me with Kyphoscoliosis, (the humpback deformity that was apparent when you looked at me from the side).  Read More


Martha Walden, Total Knee Replacement

I have had knee problems for the past 5 years, and had actually had my left knee replaced about 4 years ago by Dr. Dewberry. A couple of years after that, I started to develop fluid around my right knee which caused me to have excruciating pain. Knowing my health, I was aware that my blood sugar was unusually high and I was sure that was the cause of the fluid around my knee. I decided to go in for another visit to see if there was anything that could be done for my right knee. I had learned that Dr. Dewberry had retired and was referred to Dr. Woo. Since I had such a good experience with my first surgery, I had full confidence in Optim’s group of doctors. I had heard great things about Dr. Woo and was certain that he would be a great fit for my next surgery.  Read More


Maureen Ray, Back Surgeries, Elbow Surgery

I have come to know Optim Healthcare very well over the last two decades; 2 back surgeries from being on my feet constantly, 1 elbow surgery from a fall and 2 cochlear implant surgeries from losing my hearing over 30 years ago.

My lack of hearing finally forced me to retire in 2009 and three years later, I decided to talk to someone to see if they could help in anyway. I met with Dr. Goldsmith and he decided my best option was to get two cochlear implants. I only had 45% hearing in one of my ears and the other one was 0%. I can’t even put into words what Dr. Goldsmith has done for me with the cochlear implants. Read More


Nancy Evans, Two Total Knee Replacements

Nancy Evans is happy to be ringing in the New Year pain-free. One year ago, she was suffering from extreme pain in her left knee, which kept her from enjoying everything from her favorite pastimes, like golfing, to everyday activities like being able to walk up and down the stairs at her home.

This year, Nancy is back to the golf course and able to enjoy life as a retiree on Skidaway Island. Nancy moved to the area with her husband from Cincinnati, Ohio, where she worked as a nurse.

Nancy’s first encounter with Optim Orthopedics was about eight years ago when she contacted Kent Woo, MD. At the time, she was having some pain in her right knee and underwent a joint replacement with Dr. Woo, who informed her that she would likely also suffer problems with her left knee in the future and may need another replacement.  Read More


Olivia Young, Osteoarthritis

Driving 3500 miles a month, Olivia Young is no stranger to long hours. After recently going back to school for her masters degree in hospitality, Olivia knew that she wouldn’t be cutting back on work any time soon. The fact that she maintains an active lifestyle, makes frequent trips to the gym, and has had no prior health problems, made what happened on Easter Sunday, 2012 even more of a shock.

“I was walking, not doing anything out of the ordinary, when I heard a loud crack. A little bit later my left knee started to swell enormously and the pain was tremendous,” said Olivia. She went straight to the emergency room where she was told she needed to see an orthopedist as soon as possible. Unsure of where to go, Olivia asked family and friends. The answer every time was the same: Seek out Dr. Sutherland.  Read More


Pete Blocker, Back Surgery

We are blessed to have Optim Medical Center-Tattnall here in Reidsville with the number of doctors and all of their expertise from shoulders to hips, to feet to ankles. They do a great job from head to toe and they take great interest in their patients. Before Optim took over the ownership of the hospital my wife and I had to drive into Savannah to use the hospitals depending on the problem, but thankfully now, this has been a big plus for our county to be able to get almost everything taken care of right here. The staff in its entirety is great from Physical Therapy to their Nurses. It’s just a well thought out program.

From a community standpoint, having the hospital in our rural area has been very beneficial. There are a lot of people that have been given the chance to get health services that might not have been able to get the attention that they get in Reidsville just based on the difficulty in transportation and gas prices.   Read More


Raymond Eugene Moore, Spinal Kyphoplasty Surgery

Raymond Eugene Moore, “Gene”, and his wife Louise were enjoying a quiet retirement in Lyons, Georgia, when a seemingly small mishap caused an injury to Gene’s spine. Last fall, a large limb fell from a pecan tree in their yard, and 80-year-old Gene didn’t think twice about what to do next. Louise jokes that he was quick to be the “hero”, grabbing the chainsaw and cutting the limb into pieces and removing them from the yard. Two days later, Gene noticed his back was sore, so he went to his primary care doctor, who referred him to Optim’s Dr. John McCormick.

Gene’s MRI revealed a fracture in the L4 vertebrae. His first option was an epidural injection, which helped relieve some of his pain, but he still felt a pulling sensation in his legs caused by pressure on his sciatic nerve.  Read More


Robert Smith, Osteoarthritis of the Knees

I had been suffering, and that is indeed the word, from osteoarthritis in my knees for the past several years. During the past year, however, the condition in my left knee had deteriorated to the point where my daily activities were being adversely impacted by severe chronic pain and a loss of mobility. Golf, my favorite recreational activity, became a difficult endeavor even on the best of days, walking any distance at all was out of the question and even ascending or descending one flight of stairs required an inordinate amount of time, effort and pain. I finally came to the realization that my quality of life necessitated surgical intervention and once I arrived at that point, I began researching the orthopedic practices and surgeons in Savannah. In reading through the material available on the Optim Healthcare website, I noticed and was impressed by the fact that Optim Orthopedics was staffed by several surgeons who specialized in total knee replacements, a prerequisite for me going forward.
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Ruby Derouen, ACL Reconstruction

Having a torn ACL restricted me from playing soccer and limited the continuous physical activity I was used to doing. Thanks to Dr. Palmer I will be able to get back out on the soccer field and stay physically active. I don’t know what I would do if it weren’t for Dr. Palmer and his amazing team at Optim Orthopedics. I can now re-enter my normal daily activities, and most importantly get back out on the soccer field with the confidence and reassurance that my leg won’t let me down.

 


Skip Milton, Lumbar Compression & Stabilization

Skip Milton is a troubleman for Georgia Power, where he has worked for the past 28 years to repair electric lines and outages. He lives outside of Baxley with his wife and has always enjoyed riding his motorcycle in the area, including to work and on charity rides with his wife. However, a few years ago, Skip was in a motorcycle accident that left him wondering if he’d ever be able to work again.

One night, Skip was riding his motorcycle back from work at the Vidalia headquarters of Georgia Power when he lost control of his motorcycle and drove straight into an oncoming pickup. He was rushed to the Meadows Regional Medical Center emergency room and then transferred to the Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah.  In addition to having all of his teeth knocked out, he had sustained a fractured pelvis, broken jaw and split sacrum.  Read More


Sonny Dixon, Hip Replacement & Hand Procedures

I have used Optim in 3 different instances over the last few years. My left hip was replaced in 2000 by Dr. Edward Whelan. It had deteriorated from sports injuries and ultimately developed avascular necrosis. There have been NO problems. I ride long distances on both hybrid and road bicycles, walk long distances and have no problem with rigorous physical activity. My experience and recovery speaks volumes about his abilities.

I am always fully confident seeking treatment from Optim physicians. Plain and simple, it’s like a roster of medical superstars. The convenience of having phenomenal facilities, both in Reidsville and Savannah, is of tremendous benefit.

I not only WOULD recommend Optim Healthcare, I do so all the time.


Steve Kimbrell

I moved to Tattnall county over 30 years ago to take a job at Tattnall Memorial Hospital, and later served on the Hospital Authority Board so I have always had close association with the hospital. Being a long-standing Tattnall county resident, I have been fortunate enough to see an upswing in our economy from a business perspective since Optim acquired the regional hospital back in 2008.

The Tattnall Hospital was closed down and had no employment. Since re-opening in mid 2008, Optim Medical Center-Tattnall has employed hundreds of people. It’s always amazing to see how full the parking lot is on the patient side because it shows the increase in volume of people that are coming into town. Read More


Tom Avret, Knee Replacement & Arthroscopy

I have recommended Optim to a lot of people, and will continue to do so. All I have is praise for my care with Optim Healthcare.

I have had problems with my knee since I was a senior in high school back in 1955 and I had to finally get surgery three years later when it compounded, at the old University Hospital in Augusta.  Years later, I had knee arthroscopy done on the other knee by John George, MD at St. Joseph’s Candler. He did such a great job and I have not had any problems with that knee for over 15 years. Unfortunately, four years ago the knee that I had my first surgery on back in 1958 starting acting up again. It was extremely painful and so I decided to go back to see Dr. George. We decided that a total knee replacement was necessary, so he performed my surgery at Optim Medical Center-Tattnall.  Read More


Trya Wahl, Shoulder Surgery

Following on the heels of a severe auto accident I had long standing issues with my shoulder being acutely weak for nearly two years. As a hair stylist my shoulder health is of the utmost importance to my career. As an avid cyclist and women’s figure competitor I took both my road and gym time very seriously. Being being married to a serious long course triathlete was also physically challenging volunteering at races and dragging around equipment at all day races. I desired my unrestricted strength and stamina back for both me and him.

I worked very hard for over a two year period to relieve symptoms of what my PT thought was a weak rotator cuff, but still suffered from a lack of stamina that neither my PT nor I could explain. Nearing the fourth anniversary of my accident my PT recommended that I see an Orthopedist.  Read More


Veronica Sebuck, Dislocated Shoulder, Torn Meniscus & Torn Rotator Cuff

Spanning well over six months, Dr. Sutherland’s involvement with my recovery never faded. It was because of his concern that I have been able to return to my normal day-to-day activities, regained incredible functionality in my arm, and have been able to heal without any surgery.

When I fell, I was alone and the last thing I wanted to do was go to the Hospital. A few years prior, I had seen George Sutherland, MD, for a foot problem, and through the process had gotten to know him very well. When I called my husband, despite the pain, I insisted on going to Dr. Sutherland’s office.  Read More


Victoria Skinner, Chronic Pain in Both Knees

For several years I had been living with pain in both of my knees. My doctor had tried different oral medications and injections it would be very short term relief if any. Not to mention the fortune I’ve spent in over the counter pain relief remedies. Last year the pain became unbearable and I knew I needed to see an orthopedic doctor.

Two years ago my husband, Charles, had a hip replacement done by Dr. Whelan. As boys they had been neighborhood friends. So we asked him and his staff which doctor to see regarding my knees. Dr. Kent Woo was highly recommended not only by a colleague but several of our friends were patients and sang his praises.  Read More