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Orthopedic Joint Center Receives an International Visitor

Patient Stories


Date: June 13, 2007

Contact: Anthony Stahl
Director HR/Marketing
Howard Memorial Hospital

Willits - As the Orthopedic Joint Center of Northern California (OJC) flourishes, so does the reputation of Howard Memorial Hospital. Not only is the OJC booked for months into the future, it is attracting patients from multiple states around the country. In fact, stated Dr. Stephen Gunther, "we recently received a patient from the former Soviet Union who requested our services and the story is fascinating."

It was a cold brisk day and 70 year old Igor Borzyak flew down the mountain side on his skies. Igor loves skiing, and never passes up an opportunity to take on a new slope. As he came into a turn while skiing this past winter, he lost control and tumbled with most of his body weight coming down on his shoulder. The pain was intense and Igor knew that things were bad.

Igor initially sought medical attention in the Crimea, but no doctors would repair his shoulder injury. "I went to several specialists in my home town of Yalta" recalls Igor. "The doctors were not willing to perform the surgery to correct my injury. I was very concerned about the outcome as well. When I visited the doctors in Crimea and they wouldn't touch the problem, I knew I had to look elsewhere for help."

Igor finally contacted his son-in-law, Michael, who works as chief of the arthroplasty service at UCSF in San Francisco. Dr. Michael Ries recommended that Igor should come to the United States and have his injury examined by Dr. Stephen Gunther, a shoulder specialist and sports medicine doctor at the Joint Center in Willits.

Two months after the accident Dr. Gunther successfully repaired Igor Borzayaks complex rotator cuff tears with an arthroscopic outpatient surgery.

"The surgery went very well, and the patient currently has no pain. I am very pleased with Igor's quick recovery" commented Dr. Gunther. "He will have much better shoulder function in the future and this should allow him to continue his athletic endeavors."

Igor credits both Dr. Gunther and the HMH hospital staff in providing highly technical specialty surgery as well as compassion and personalized care at the same time. "I'm very, very impressed with the staff and their loving care," commented Igor. "I plan to be here for about six more weeks before heading home. I want to thank the staff and Dr. Gunther for his care."

"We are pleased that we can become a destination hospital for not only our community, but for these kinds of special cases" commented Kevin Erich, President and CEO of Howard Memorial Hospital.