For Father’s Day, I was asked to reflect on what it is like to be able to work together with my dad (Dr. David M. Dines). In a word special. But that is an over simplification. I personally can’t imagine many more rewarding things in life than doing what you love to do with one of the people you love most.
There are several father-son combinations working at Hospital for Special Surgery including the Ranawats and the Sculcos, which, to me, highlights just how special a place it is. The dedication to excellence, the pride exhibited by its employees and the institution’s goal of being the best were all attributes that our fathers espoused and impressed on us. Seeing how happy my father was working at such a hospital clearly played an influential role in how I became interested in orthopedic surgery.
Despite that, my road to becoming an orthopedic surgeon is not what many people would assume. Though my father’s love for his profession was always obvious and even contagious, there was never any pressure that I should follow the same path. I was convinced during my first few years at college that I would go to law school or work in finance. It came as a huge surprise to my parents when, after my junior year, I announced that I wanted to go to medical school. Looking back now, I can’t believe I even considered doing something else.
Whether it is the OR staff at the hospital or patients themselves, I am constantly reminded of just how lucky I am to be able to work so closely with my father doing what both of us love: taking care of patients. Orthopedic Surgery at HSS is practiced at such a high level that when casual observers listen to surgeons discuss a case, it is almost as if the surgeons are speaking a different language. Being able to speak that language with my dad is special. We have so much fun performing a challenging surgery or reviewing MRIs together, particularly because we realize how lucky we are to be able to do what we love to do in one of the best hospitals in the world. The great times we have travelling to meetings or taking care of the US Davis Cup tennis team or Long Island Ducks together is something that few understand, but I never take it for granted
As a new father myself, I only hope I can be as good a role model as my father was for me. And maybe, just maybe, my daughter Poppy will one day be asked to write a blog post about being a 3rd-generation HSS surgeon.
Dr. Joshua Dines is an orthopedic surgeon and a member of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery. He is a team doctor for the U.S. Davis Cup tennis team, an assistant team physician for the New York Mets and a consultant for the Los Angeles Dodgers.