Practice News

Treating Veterans with the Next Generation of Neurosurgeons

People who’ve served in the U.S. military often face health issues most American citizens do not. But they also face similar brain, neck, and spine issues that civilians do.

That’s why Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine staffs the neurosurgery resident clinic and the neurosurgery residency program at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center—and why Dr. Carl Sartorius is proud of his role as the program’s chief of neurosurgery.

“My dad was in the Army Air Corps during World War II. His plane was blown out of the sky, and he parachuted to the ground,” Dr. Sartorius said. He’s researched what it would have been like for his father in the war, from the plane he would have flown in, to the camp where he was later held. Now he knows a lot more about what it would have been like, but his father—like many veterans—never talked about it.

Knowing the kinds of challenges veterans take on during their service for the sake of others is why Dr. Sartorius is passionate about helping them. It’s also why he’s intent on ensuring they get the best care.

Several years ago Goodman Campbell made a commitment to having an attending neurosurgeon at the VA hospital every day. Every Goodman Campbell neurosurgeon rotates through the program.

To Dr. Sartorius, the act of teaching is beneficial for both residents and attendings. “Most people value a physician who is a part of a training program, that is a part of research and education. We raise each other up through the interaction of being together.”

Dr. Sartorius staffs the VA neurosurgery clinic with Dr. Henry Feuer. Both see and evaluate patients at the clinic. When surgery is indicated, it is performed by a rotation of Goodman Campbell neurosurgeons, who work with the residents directly.

“The great thing about the VA for training is that residents get some element of autonomy they don’t get at other places. The neurosurgery residents can see the patients and do their own plans. It’s by far their favorite rotation,” Dr. Sartorius said.

It’s something Dr. Sartorius and the other surgeons at Goodman Campbell enjoy, as well.
“The ultimate goal is to take care of the veterans. And I think we do a good job of that.”

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