ORTHOPOD EDITOR
Jeffrey P. Beckenbaugh, DO

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Dr. David W. Smith is Recognized as Great Pioneer in Osteopathic Medicine

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Member Spotlight: Theodore S. Rummel, DO


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member spotlight

Disability Would Not Define his Future

Ted Rummel, DO has been a practicing general orthopedist in the St. Louis metropolitan area since 1996. His story is truly an inspiration and one that proves that determination and the support of one’s family can provide a strong force when faced with adversity.

Ted’s medical journey began in May of 2007 when he experienced the first episode of numbness in his left leg and was diagnosed as having transverse myelitis of unknown origin. Within six months the numbness resolved, however, in March of 2009 he developed weakness in his left leg. After a thorough neurologic workup he was once again diagnosed as having transverse myelitis of unknown origin. Along with this diagnosis, he was told he was at risk for multiple sclerosis. MRIs every six months were recommended.  During his first six month MRI, a cavernous hemangioma was discovered at the T8 level in the center of his spinal cord.  Following multiple consultations, the lesion was felt to be inoperable.

Suddenly in September 2010, the hemangioma began to leak and within four days Ted was a paraplegic. During his hospital stay he developed a PE necessitating a vena cava filter as well as urosepsis. When he was finally medically stable, Ted underwent a two level laminectomy with removal of the hemangioma. Ted spent two months in a rehabilitation center and eventually drove himself home in a handicap equipped van he bought. 

For Ted, life changes have been monumental and ever evolving. Simple tasks like arranging food in the refrigerator to hanging clothes in the closet took on a whole new meaning.  Ted attributes his recovery to the care, understanding and support of his wife and friends. Ted discovered that neurogenic pain dominated his life for months, but he is now on a drug regimen that has made the pain and spasms tolerable.

Unwavering in his desire to continue practicing, Ted began talking to his hospitals about resuming his surgical privileges after receiving medical clearance. Realizing he would need to work from a wheelchair, it seemed reasonable to return to the OR focusing on the upper extremity distal to the elbow.  Ted enlisted the advice of a fellow DO orthopod in the St. Louis area, Dr. Richard Howard, who assisted him in fine tuning his upper extremity surgical skills.

Ted continues to have a very positive outlook on life and has a strong desire to continue as an orthopedic surgeon.  He now has an electric wheelchair that allows him to safely perform knee arthroscopies and is in the process of developing assistive devices so he can soon return to performing shoulder arthroscopy.

To learn more about Ted’s story and love for his profession, visit  http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/303549/4/Paralyzed-doctor-now-performing-surgery-from-his-wheelchair.

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