When Doctor Becomes Patient

Former chair of the Department of Surgery chooses his colleague for successful hip replacement.

Who does a leading surgeon turn to when he requires surgery? For Michael A. Goldfarb, M.D., FACS, the answer was simple. After completing tens of thousands of surgeries on others, for his first surgery, Dr. Goldfarb went straight to his colleague at Monmouth Medical Center—fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopedic surgeon David Chalnick, M.D, FACS.

“People were telling me to go to New York City, but you don’t have to—the answer is right here,” says the former chairman and program director of the Department of Surgery at Monmouth Medical Center, who needed a hip replacement after years of debilitating pain. “Monmouth Medical Center’s surgical results are superb; there’s no reason to go elsewhere.”

His choice of Dr. Chalnick, medical director of The Joint Replacement Center at Monmouth Medical Center, was also clear from the start. “I know him as a surgeon,” explains Dr. Goldfarb, a practicing Monmouth Medical Center surgeon since 1974. “He is meticulous, compassionate and extremely skilled.”

Today, Dr. Goldfarb feels “amazing” as a result of the procedure. “Dr. Chalnick is a master surgeon; he’s a surgeon’s surgeon. I went in on a Thursday and came home Saturday,” reports Dr. Goldfarb, who returned to work seeing patients just nine days after the operation. “The pain was minimal. I was up and walking the same day of the surgery.”

Dr. Goldfarb started having severe pain in his right hip a couple years ago. A former nationally ranked fencer, he had to give up the beloved sport and was finding it increasingly difficult to golf. “It hurt so much at night that I was having trouble sleeping,” recalls the Little Silver resident, who tried various exercises and over-the-counter pain relievers, to no avail. “I knew I had to have something done.” X-rays revealed that Dr. Goldfarb’s right hip was “bone on bone.” In other words, the cartilage—which normally serves as a cushion between the joint’s two bones—was completely worn away. “Dr. Chalnick said, ‘When it hurts too much, come back,’” says Dr. Goldfarb, noting that the dedicated surgeon was there for him every step of the way.

Documented Experience and Results

A well-informed patient, Dr. Goldfarb is a national expert in the study of surgical outcomes, and knew that both Dr. Chalnick and Monmouth Medical Center have an outstanding track record.

“I’ve personally followed surgical outcome studies for years,” says Dr. Goldfarb, a recognized leader on outcome studies who has published many professional articles on the subject. “I’m not just simply appraising them; I’m aware of the actual results.”

“Dr. Chalnick is a compulsive surgeon,” he continues. “You have to be compulsive, to be good. In other words, a surgeon must be consistent, operate with proper indications, and really care about what he is doing. And do it the way you would do it for your own family.”

Dr. Chalnick epitomizes those qualities, says his colleague. “He is exceptional,” says Dr. Goldfarb, who praises the entire Monmouth Medical Center team. “The orthopedic floor is incredible. They’re smart and attentive—it’s first class.”

“It’s certainly flattering when a colleague turns to you for their own care, but I try to remember and emphasize to residents that every patient is equally important,” says Dr. Chalnick. “When you treat all patients in the same manner, you don’t miss anything and the results are typically excellent.”

Successful Surgery Sparks Speedy Recovery

Upon returning to see Dr. Chalnick when his pain became too severe, Dr. Goldfarb was presented with different hip replacement surgery options. For Dr. Goldfarb’s particular situation, Dr. Chalnick recommended the mini posterior approach. “I’ve optimized this technique over the past 18 years in practice,” says Dr. Chalnick. “It involves an incision toward the posterolateral aspect of the hip and results in a quick and fairly comfortable recovery.”

To Learn more or to inquire about ongoing free patient education sessions, call the Joint Replacement Center at Monmouth Medical Center at 732.923.7666 or visit barnabashealth.or g/mmcjoint.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Chalnick directly, call his office at 732.530.1515.

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