Dr. Badia was interviews on Boomer Times FL Radio on April 4, 2020 in a wide reaching article about what it means to be a hand and upper limb surgeon to why people should avoid the emergency room during COVID-19.
Transcript of Boomer Radio Interview with Dr. Badia April 4, 2020
[00:00:01] This is a very, very famous orthopedic surgeon. And we’re so happy to have him on our show now with all this terrible stuff going on. Dr. Badia. Well, let me just tell you exactly how this is going. Alejandro Badia. You’re an M.D. and you’re an orthopedic surgeon. Right? That’s right. That’s right. OK. And of course, it’s a trying time for everybody, but especially for doctors. And I’m so glad that you’re taking the time. I know that you’re probably doing some emergency work right now, aren’t you? You’re not doing typical surgeries for orthopedic.
[00:00:42] That’s correct. But that’s actually a challenge in and of itself because of facilities closing. And I’m outside the hospital system. I do everything in an ambulatory center. So, it’s been particularly challenging with the state regulations.
[00:00:57] Right. I understand that. So, are you wearing a mask in? And are you protecting yourself?
[00:01:04] Yes, I am. I was tested. I was lecturing in Australia the day after I came back. I was tested for negative for COVID-19. And we are really providing care mostly by telemedicine, now, you know, for obvious reasons.
[00:01:21] Exactly. And what were you doing in Australia?
[00:01:25] I was lecturing at the Asian Pacific Hand Surgery Congress. So basically, that entire side of the world, including obviously Australia, is Hand surgery Congress and the last day of it was actually cancelled because of the pandemic. So, I managed to get back just in time.
[00:01:46] Wow. So your specialty is in orthopedic surgery for hand and tell us exactly why you decided to do this. First of all, medical school and then what is your specialty?
[00:02:04] I’m mean, I am an upper limb surgeon and that means that I do hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. And how I chose that because I liked the variety of pathology and what I was exposed to during my training at NYU Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital. I largely chose hand surgery because my grandmother, my paternal grandmother, originally from Valencia, Spain, was afflicted with very severe rheumatoid arthritis. And I was very close with her. We were immigrant family. I’d come from Cuba. My dad’s an engineer. We had to work in a warehouse, typical immigrant story in the 60s. And she sort of was with me during daytime and somewhere in the back of my mind, I wanted to help her, I guess. [00:02:54] Oh, oh, my God, that’s a story. And, you know, it’s funny. I do interview a lot of physicians and many of them do have stories like this; that they knew they were going to do it or somebody influenced them. But that’s so nice of you. I’d just tell you one thing. I lived in Miami in 1959 when the Cuban refugees came in and there were many doctors and lawyers and they were living in an efficiency apartment. They did get a hundred dollars a month, I guess, each one. And so it was a hard time. But, you know, they really showed their spirit. And now Southwest, a street in that is flourishing because of them.
[00:03:31] Well, sure. Well, you know, our mayor or our county council. I mean, this is very much a Latino town, but it’s an interesting mix. You know, we have every other South American country. We have had a huge Jewish population many years. And now we have Russians. We have Europeans from Italy, France, Spain. So it’s a pretty diverse place.
[00:03:55] Right. And now getting back to your specialty, I guess you see a lot of tennis players and people. I just had a cousin who had to have surgery, quite a champion in the United States. And boy, upper shoulder.
[00:04:07] Yeah. Well, ironic that you asked me because I happen to be have a particular interest in Tennis in fact a major book, the first comprehensive book on tennis medicine came out about a year and a half ago and I wrote the chapter on hand and wrist injuries. No kidding. Yeah. Yeah, I did. So it’s I mean, there’s chapters on shoulder and I mean, this touches on nutrition on a lot of things. But yeah. The upper limit and a lot of different sports. Golf is affected. So it’s you know, people ask me, you are considered by many as one of the best hand surgeons out there… what do you do as a hand surgeon? They really can’t fathom it. And you know, if I’m in South Beach, people will say, well, what do you do to make the hand look better?
[00:04:58] I say. You know, you want to call me when you put your hand in a circular saw working in your garage and then they get it. Yeah. Right.
[00:05:09] Or the garbage disposal. Right. Or whatever.
[00:05:12] The blender. I mean I have everything right. I I’ve seen hand bites of animal bites from almost every species you can think of.
[00:05:21] And so I’m sure that’s true. But let’s just go through this. So now we know people can prevent of course, if they don’t have rheumatoid arthritis is something, they have to just be careful with their limbs. Do you prescribe certain exercises that people should do to keep their limbs strong?
[00:05:38] Oh, certainly.
[00:05:38] But you know, let’s understand that the nature of specialization is I am not by any means a therapist, these folks go to school for a long time. In fact, my ex-wife is a physical therapist from Venezuela.
[00:05:50] So I can tell you her knowledge in terms of exercise much more than mine. But exercise is obviously a key, especially now while everybody’s sort of closed in. It’s important and specifically for the upper limb, they tend to be occupational therapists and there is something called the SHT. certified hand therapist. And there’s you know, there’s many excellent ones in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. So but there’s not many of them. It’s just like hand surgeons. It’s a real specialty.
[00:06:23] Right. So the nice thing is that, you know, you’re doing something that is sounds like it’s unique. There aren’t many people doing this. And what would you what would you suggest then? People have a problem. They can call you and then you will give them, I’m sure, a in an interview, see what they do. And I’m going to give them your phone number right now, because you have a you have actually very wonderful people. We’ve talked with them and you have lots of coordinators. I think a doctor really has to have good office staff to function. Don’t you think?
[00:07:01] Sure. Sure. But I’ll tell you, nowadays, we rely a lot on digital. I mean, at least most of the folks, even the older folks I know, you know, we use the Internet and so on. So, Dr. Badia.com is really the best way to reach me because, you know, the girls on the office phone bill also get tied up. So always people can, you know, can preferentially go to the Internet. It’s really a lot better to make an appointment.
[00:07:32] is it dr or doctor? It’s drbadia.com. Bai’s.
[00:07:47] Dot com. OK. Right. And that’s how they can get to you and they will have I’m sure quite many, many questions. But you sound like you do. Just. I can tell without even meeting you that you’re very compassionate. You’re very interesting because I tell you what happens when you’ve had a great grandmother, a great family. It rubs off. It really does. And when you’re with patients. Yeah. You sound like you’re very compassionate, which unfortunately, some doctors who are really smart and very organized. They’re still not patient oriented. And it sounds like you are.
[00:08:25] Well, you know, yes, I agree, but I I’d like to add a caveat to that. OK. Well is and I’m writing a bookabout this. So, this will be the first plug ever on it, to be honest. Because what’s happening is worse. Health care. He health care is under incredible pressure. And you know what?
[00:08:44] We are now called providers, which we absolutely hate, that is an insurance term for us. And I understand, you know, there is the business aspect of medicine. But, you know, doctors, we’re physicians. There are other people who, you know, providers or services technicians. All these people provide care. And the problem is that the stresses of complying with the regulations rules the debate. Now everything’s on a computer. Physicians. You know, I can’t speak for all that, but for most of us really hate it. And you know, when you’re in the surgeon’s lounge at hospital, which I don’t do anymore, but back then, even back then, we weren’t talking about interesting cases anymore. It was really talking about the challenges. And that’s why I’m writing a book called Health Care from the Trenches. I’ll have to review your brother’s book.
[00:09:43] Basically, it’s an it’s an insider account of the challenges and obstacles facing providers in quotes, providers and patients, because it’s difficult for patients to access care, which is why I. Which is why I founded the OrthoNow concept, which is really an orthopedic Walk-In center.
[00:10:06] Oh, right. I see that. OrthoNow in Doral. So you are located in Doral.
[00:10:12] Well, that’s the HQ’s there. We’re trying to go national. We’re looking for strategic investor or partner. We had an interesting talk yesterday with another colleague of mine who’s thinking the same thing and has a similar but different concept. Ours is brick and mortar. It’s actual like urgent care centers that people go to for expertise. The problem is you go to one of these general urgent cares and the doctor is doing the best they can. Yeah. They don’t know orthopedics It’s like you coming to me for your eye. I mean, . So this is a problem in orthopedics is not a small niche. Right. I bet for you, for your audience. This not just emergencies. People have no back pain. They have knee pain, shoulder pain. And all of these things can be better assessed at a place like that.
[00:11:05] And now with this pandemic, the challenge is keeping these people out of the hospital because it’s a dangerous environment.
[00:11:15] Yes, it’s a great idea. This is something that you’ve conceptualized.
[00:11:21] Oh, no, no ortho now in Doral, the flagship locations are been open 10 years, but it’s been a lot of challenges. We’ve gotten unfortunately not a lot of community support. I mean, literally from. From the municipalities to the to the big employers to the insurance companies. I mean, every time we speak to them individually, they really like the idea. But, you know, that doesn’t pay the bills. So the patient volume has not been what it should be.
[00:11:53] We do have an or so it’s called Orthonowalive. And what you’ve got a Web site or so now live dot com. And also not Life.com.
[00:12:02] You can make an appointment or virtual appointment to speak to an orthopedic clinician over your smartphone or your or your computer.
[00:12:14] Wow, that’s fantastic. And I will tell you, in my opinion, though, I happen to be a gerontologist and I’ve been in this business. I’ve been in the health care business and the publishing and marketing business for a long time. And I think what’s happened is horrible is the virus, the Coronavirus is. It’s going to change the way people think. I think you may be just at the right time, the right place now, because people realize that they need to be able to talk to someone, be able to go to a small place. I think this even though I think the virus is horrible, I think this may be wonderful for you. I’d love to talk to you about this and see how I can help you, because I believe that this is the way people are going to start to want to live. What do you think?
[00:12:59] Well. Oh, absolutely. I’d love to send you a couple articles that just came out in the national press. OK. about this?
[00:13:09] I think many of us and I completely agree with you, think this is a complete reset for the world. certainly, in health care. Yes, health care. So, yes, telehealth before this we couldn’t get patients to use telehealth. We said, look, if we’re going to explain your MRI findings to you and discuss a plan at that point. We don’t need to physically examine you. You already have the study. We’ve touched you. We’ve examined you. Now we’re going to look at this diagnostic study and we’re going to make a decision. We can do that like this, like just like you and I are talking now. But with the added benefit of being able to see the person, see the physician, see their expression, empathize, all of these things that are important in the doctor patient relationship and we can do is virtually this medicine and this age where we can help.
[00:14:01] And you seeing what’s happening with Zoom, of course, you know, they’re having all their meetings on it. This is a wonderful thing. And yeah, yeah, we’ve been doing well.
[00:14:09] Our executive team has been using Zoom for years and I’ve been using Zoom Health for five years. We’re now at OrthoNOW Live. So now at my private practice because my private practice about a third international. So a lot of patients before they get on a plane from, say, Barbados or Panama or they are unable to virtual, you know, examine them remotely, look at their studies and an or questions, you know, about Dr. Badia.
[00:14:40] That’s great. And you can hear the music. It means that we’ve finished our interview. But I’d like to talk to you personally. I will get back to you and let’s see what we can do. But thank you so much and good luck. And just stay safe. OK. And good. Everything you’re doing sounds wonderful. Thank you very much. OK. Thank you so much. Yes. Goodbye, doctor buddy. We’ll be right back.