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Orthopedic services return to Bedford Memorial

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By John Barnhart

After a decade’s hiatus, orthopedic services will return to Bedford Memorial Hospital. Dr. John W. Carmody, in association with the Orthopaedic Center of Central Virginia, will be holding office hours here primarily for consulting and post-surgical management appointments.

    Dr. Carmody is the grandson of an Irish immigrant and New York City policeman. His father, John W. Carmody Sr., was a New York City firefighter. The elder Carmody also served as an officer in the United States Army and was in charge of firefighting at Schofield Barracks, an Army base in Honolulu, Hawaii. According to his son, the elder Carmody thought he had been assigned to paradise — but that changed on Dec. 7, 1941. He had his hands full that day, going down to the Navy base to help fight the fires there after the Japanese attack.
    Dr. Carmody notes that his father’s experience shows that little things count. His father decided to get up for breakfast that morning and was in the mess hall when the Japanese attacked. The place where he was quartered was hit by a bomb, and all the others who had elected to sleep late that Sunday morning, were killed.
    “He only lived because he got up on Sunday morning to have breakfast,” Dr. Carmody said.    
    Dr. Carmody earned his medical degree at New York Medical College and did his residency in orthopedics at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. This was a great experience for him because most of the sports teams in New York sent injured players there.
    “It was a good experience,” he said. “I got to train with the Jets for two years.”
    He also did a fellowship with Dr. Frank Stinchfield who, according to Dr. Carmody, was one of the pioneers in hip and knee replacement surgery in America. After a number of years of practicing orthopedics in New York, which included serving as director of orthopedics in Hoboken, N.J., and having an office on Park Avenue for 10 years, he moved to Galax, and took over a practice there.
    It was 9/11 that prompted that move.
    “We have been in New York for 50 years, let’s see what the rest of the country looks like,” Dr. Carmody said, summing up how he and his wife felt after the terrorist attack.
    “I had a very busy practice,” Dr. Carmody said of his 10 years as an orthopedic surgeon there.
    It was refreshing. He noted that some of his patients in Manhattan treated him like he was their servant. People in Galax were truly appreciative. Post-surgical follow-up was a bit different, too, as some folks would miss appointments to have stitches removed. This is because they didn’t think that was a big deal, and removed their stitches themselves.
    Dr. Carmody came to Bedford, after a busy practice in Galax, because he decided it was time to slow down and drop most surgery. He’s still a board certified orthopedic surgeon and will do some treatments, such as serious bone fractures. However, most of what he will do here is evaluate patients to determine if they should have surgery and, if so, what kind of surgery should they have.
    “Every patient comes to us with two things, a problem and a story,” said Dr. Carmody, who had a double undergraduate major in biology and philosophy. “We need to listen to their story and help them with their problem.”
    “Everything comes down to history and observation,” he added. “All the tests are mostly for confirming things.”
    And, add in experience. Dr. Carmody said that experience tells a doctor what to look for.
    At present, his office hours are from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, but he expects that to expand.