Patient Stories

Brantley P. Vitek, Jr., MD

Jim didn’t know what hit him. One minute, he was enjoying his weekly bike ride near his home in Clifton; the next, he was lying in the middle of the road in excruciating pain. His friend who was riding behind him saw the whole thing. A huge buck had scaled a three-rung fence, gone airborne, and crashed down onto Jim as he rode by, sending him sprawling to the pavement.

“I woke up on the asphalt without a clue,” Jim, 52, recalls. “My bike helmet was crushed beside me, my head hurt, and I had a huge contusion on my right side – I felt like I’d broken my hip.” His friend drove him to the emergency room (ER) where doctors took X-rays and recommended that Jim consult an orthopaedic surgeon. He hobbled home on crutches and picked up the phone.

Jim knew just who to call: Brantley Vitek, MD, a OrthoVirginia surgeon who had first treated him in the ER 13 years earlier following a head-on car crash. At that time, Jim had suffered a calcaneus fracture – a severe foot injury that can lead to long-term disability and chronic pain. Dr. Vitek performed extremely complex heel reconstruction surgery and Jim made a full recovery, returning to an active lifestyle that included biking, skiing, and a busy job as the owner of Northern Virginia’s Spokes Etc. bicycle shops.

When Jim sought Dr. Vitek’s help most recently, the situation was far less critical. They met in his office, where Dr. Vitek determined that he had twisted his pelvis as a result of the deer collision. The pelvic bones were out of alignment, but they were not broken.

Jim returned to Dr. Vitek’s office several times to be sure the bones were healing appropriately and had not shifted. Fortunately, he did not need surgery. He spent a month on crutches and was able to go back to work within two weeks. He rode a recumbent bike in the gym to get back in shape before resuming his 200-mile weekly outdoor rides.

He feels extremely fortunate that Dr. Vitek was on call in the ER that awful day of his car accident many years ago. “I got lucky,” he says. “There are very few surgeons in the country who are capable of performing the type of complex heel reconstruction that I needed, but he’s one of them. He has tremendous knowledge and he tells it like it is. When my wife broke her hip several years ago, he performed her surgery and she was able to come with me on a bike trip to Hawaii two months later. My son went to see him recently for a lacrosse injury. He’s put everyone in our family back together again.”