Stephen Gross, MD, is a Yale Medicine orthopedic surgeon who treats patients in Westerly, Rhode Island, for a broad spectrum of muscle, joint, and bone injuries. “I take care of whatever the community brings to me, with an emphasis on hip and knee replacement. But I also treat a lot of routine sprains and strains, and everything else you get in a small community,” he says.
Dr. Gross was inspired to become an orthopedic surgeon when he was 15 and traumatically injured his knee playing football. Minimally invasive surgery was not yet available, so he underwent an open surgery with a long incision to repair his knee, followed by a less invasive arthroscopy when it was offered sometime later. “I was always interested in science in school. Once I learned about orthopedic surgery, there was no looking back,” he says.
He has been practicing for almost 30 years now. Patients appreciate that he knows what it’s like to be in their shoes, he says. “They know I’ve been through something they are about to go through. They know I understand the importance of getting back on the playing field or doing whatever it is their injury is preventing them from doing.”
Dr. Gross puts patients at ease by letting them know there is a wealth of resources available today to treat them and help them heal. He able to treat more than 90 percent of his patients without surgery, using such approaches as injections or physical therapy. “I have eight to 10 physical therapy programs that I can refer them to. I know that while certain patients will do well anywhere, there are others who will do better with a particular approach,” he says. When patients do need surgery, he makes sure they know that they will be treated by a team both in and out of the hospital that will take a comprehensive approach to make sure they get the best possible care.
Dr. Gross is an instructor in clinical orthopedics at Yale School of Medicine.