Our own Dr. Gerard Girasole was recently interviewed by Spine Universe on what led him to becoming an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and how his patients continue to inspire him each day. Read his interview below:
Gerard J. Girasole, MD, is an Orthopaedic Surgeon and Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Dr. Girasole told SpineUniverse, “From a very young age, I was always intrigued and interested not only to become a doctor but to become a surgeon. I worked in hospitals as a teenager, I even worked in doctor’s offices seeing patients with the surgeons and going to the operating room to observe surgery. I felt that I was never happier than when being in an operating room and the amazement of the human body and was fascinated by the operative procedures.”
Furthermore, he stated, “When I was a resident, I was going to become an oncology surgeon, but I worked with neurosurgeons during my residency, and I became intrigued with the instrumentation, complexity of the surgery and the ability to make a real difference in someone’s life by either correcting a deformity or neurological function. It is for this reason that the best field for me would be spinal disorders.”
How do Dr. Girasole’s patients inspire him?
He answered, “As a spinal surgeon, I see patients who are suffering with significant morbidity, whether it is intractable leg or back pain that really affects their quality of life. A lot of these patients feel lost because they believe they will never regain normal functionality. I’m inspired by my patients who come back after surgery and tell me that I’ve given back their quality of life—which I think is no better a feeling than helping another person and giving them back what they cherish most.”
“I have been blessed to be touched by many patients, but one patient still resonates in my mind. She was a 58-year-old female with metastatic breast cancer. She required a very extensive operation, which is known as an anterior/posterior procedure to reconstruct her spine. Post-operatively, she could function and according to her, I gave back her quality of life, albeit for a short period of time. She was able to live a normal life, but unfortunately passed away from cancer. Before her death, she sent me a cherub with my name on it; the scars of her surgery are on the cherub’s wings. That cherub sits on my bookcase overlooking me, and I feel that it is an angel whom she has sent down to watch over me.”