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Dr. Mehlman (’89) on pediatric orthopedic surgery

The way-cool perks of making a difference in the lives of kids

By Richard Heck
Jan. 30, 2009
 

Pediatric orthopedic surgery “is the coolest,” according to Charles T. Mehlman, D.O. (’89), who echoed the speech of his young patients during the most recent Career Medical Specialties Series lecture.  

“It’s cool to take kids with bad traumas and put them back together again,” said Mehlman, an attending pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “You take a kid and get him to walk and affect his life: like fixing a hip for 90 years of use and
then getting thanked for your effort—it’s definitely a good day’s work.”

Dealing on daily basis with injured children and teenagers, often
suffering trauma or severe diseases, may seem daunting, even tragic, but Mehlman finds the specialty to be exceedingly rewarding. “The best part of pediatrics is the wonderful honesty of children. They have no pretext like adults (who often have) hidden agendas.”  

After graduating from OU-COM in 1989, Mehlman completed both a rotating internship and an orthopedic surgery residency at Grandview, followed by an internal medicine residency at Akron General Medical Center. Next he completed a pediatric orthopedic surgery fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and finally a master’s of public health in clinical effectiveness from the Harvard School of Public Health.  

Mehlman emphasized that pediatric orthopedic surgery offers some professional variety. “My job is not all surgery; I’m a disease manager. I do everything at my disposal,” he said. “The hard part is the lengthy follow up to judge success, but that can be way cool, too.”

Mehlman serves an associate professor of pediatric orthopedic surgery and director of musculoskeletal outcomes research and pediatric orthopedic resident education at the Queen City Medical Center. 

Mehlman, a self-described academic “geek,” has contributed to a variety of medical journals, books and papers on topics related to pediatric orthopedics.

“I’m trying to improve the quality of (medical) literature out there. It’s an honor to write for important sources of pediatrics and to help improve the standards for the field,” Mehlman said. “My job satisfaction comes from teaching and developing new knowledge.”

Mehlman advised the OU-COM students to nurture their interests, engage in research and continue to learn.

“Being a doctor will always have its bad days. However, my good days outnumber the bad. When you get a big hug from an appreciative parent and a high-five from a kid because you had a major impact on these kids’ lives, that’s way cool,” Mehlman said.

Mehlman received OU-COM’s Medal of Merit in 2006.

 
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