DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A couple of years ago, Dr. David Field's staff wanted to throw him a party to mark his landmark 20,000th surgical procedure.
They began tallying the procedures that the Dubuque orthopedic surgeon had performed since 1979. The staff wanted to estimate when they should set the celebration date, but a realization quickly halted their party-planning efforts.
"We'd already missed that one," Field told the Telegraph Herald (http://bit.ly/1hOMdYN).
That's OK. The 67-year-old physician recently completed his 25,000th surgical procedure, so his staff threw him a surprise party for that landmark instead.
"You don't think about it on a day-to-day basis, but it adds up," Field said of the hip replacements, knee scopes, carpal tunnel procedures, fractured-leg surgeries and others that contributed to the total.
A staff member began taking an annual count of Field's surgical procedures when he began his Dubuque practice — back in October 1979 at Medical Associates Clinic. Field remained at the clinic until early 1991, when he left to practice in Indianapolis and train in New York City.
Staff members tallied the number of procedures in those places, too, and again when he returned to set up his own Dubuque practice in 1992. His current Westside Orthopaedics location opened in 1996, and the counting continued.
The staff keeps meticulous details of procedures.
The entries tell of shoulder scopes, wrist-fracture procedures, back surgeries and other orthopedic interventions.
"Dr. Field is an outstanding orthopedic surgeon," said David Brandon, CEO of UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital.
Those are just the surgical procedures. Only a small percentage of the patients Field treats require surgery — about one in 10 or so — which means tens of thousands more patients than 25,000.
"He's probably touched the lives of easily 200,000 people," Brandon said.
A native of Canada, Field hadn't really heard of Dubuque when he came for the job offer that landed him at Medical Associates. His local roots now extend to Mystique Community Ice Center — Field is among the partners behind the Dubuque Fighting Saints, after being involved in junior hockey with the original Fighting Saints of the 1980s and the Thunderbirds who succeeded them.
He enjoys his orthopedic practice, too. "The things surrounding medicine I'm not sure I enjoy — the insurance and the politics — but I enjoy patients and the surgical side of it," he said.
Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com