PEMBROKE PINES, FL – In an amazing feat of political incorrectness, an orthopaedic surgeon cut his clinic volume of non-operative patients by half by simply telling the truth.
Dr. Joe “Nunchucks” Carpenter, an orthopaedic surgeon practicing just outside of Miami, noticed that the vast majority of his clinic patients did not need surgery. In fact, they just needed to lose weight and get in shape. So Carpenter started telling them the hard truth: “You’re just too fat. You don’t need me. You need a personal trainer and to get rid of everything in your fridge.” Amazingly, those patients oftentimes appreciated being told what they needed to do.
Carpenter explains. “I would get these patients, weighing 350-400 pounds, with BMIs greater than 40, wondering why their knees hurt. It turns out, they’ve never taken acetaminophen or ibuprofen before (“don’t like taking medications”), had any injections (“don’t like needles”), or had any physical therapy. Within a month of this drastic change on how to convey his message to his obese patients, Carpenter noticed a decreased in volume in his clinic of those patients, allowing those who need surgery access to an earlier appointment.
Said Carpenter, while doing pull-ups at his office after seeing the last scheduled patient, “I was at risk of having the practice become a pain management clinic. I’m an orthopedic surgeon; I operate on people who need surgery.”