Patient Stories

Robert W. Sydnor, MD- Retired

My Story:

Thanks to my care at OrthoVirginia, I can... live at home, watch my favorite TV shows, and be with my dog, Laddie- even at 92 years old!

Dr. Robert Sydnor has helped my father get back to the life he enjoys. In June, 2015, my father, Malcolm H. Burgess, Sr. fell and broke his left hip. Initially, he underwent surgery to place a rod and pins in his femur to repair the hip. An infection set in at the site of the largest of the three incision and a second surgery was done. Dr. Sydnor performed the second surgery to remove the infection and clean the wound. Most of the incision was left open and a wound vac was placed on. At 91 years old, it was probably next to a miracle that Malcolm survived two surgeries with anesthesia in such a short span of time.

To complicate matters, Malcolm has a harsh medical history. Early dementia, penile cancer surgery, and a septic urinary infection that settled in his spine destroying discs L2-L4 and required months of IV antibiotics and surgery at UVA to fuse his spine are among the challenges he has faced. In spite of all these challenges, Dr. Sydnor patiently worked with Malcolm as well as the family, always maintaining a positive attitude, empathy for the patient and the family, and assuring us that my father would walk again.

It is hard to keep a patient with dementia from putting weight on a foot that he isn’t supposed to, and likewise difficult to use perseverance with someone who forgets what a wound vac is for and pulls it off time and time again, but Dr. Sydnor managed. He worked with the skilled care and home health providers to stay the course.

Dr. Sydnor faithfully monitored Malcolm. He even came to Westminster Canterbury early in my father’s stay there to check on his progress and his wound! He regularly checked with the doctors, nurses, and medical professionals to keep a guiding hand in his care plan. When others told us my father might never walk again, Dr. Sydnor kept my father’s and my family’s spirits up by assuring us he didn’t see any reason why he would be able to walk again.

The wound continues to heal. Progress may be slow, but it’s progress just the same. Dr. Sydnor, his nurses, and others at OrthoVirginia continue to greet us with smiles, professionalism, and genuine concern both for the patient and our family. Malcolm Sr. is healthy, happy, and home. He enjoys watching old tv shows like Gunsmoke and Texas Ranger, and mostly he enjoys being back with his loyal companion Laddie.

Years ago, before I met Dr. Sydnor, I heard him speak at my niece’s Brookville High School graduation. His words stick with me to this day. This is a paraphrase, but I remember him saying he had studied and knew much about the mysteries of the body and mind, but he was just beginning to understand the mysteries of the soul. By my observations, Dr. Sydnor is well on his way with understanding and consideration of his patients’ inner emotions, motivations, and the deep desires of their hearts- yes, the very essence of his patients-their souls. This is over and above the excellent orthopedic care Dr. Sydnor provides, yet ever so important in a patient’s healing process.

My family and I cannot thank Dr. Sydnor enough. Malcolm made it to 92 and will be 93 in September. Malcolm is from The Greatest Generation-you know the ones-the survivors of The Great Depression, the World War II veterans-the ones who came home from the war to finish their education and make a life for themselves and their families. They love God and Country and will fight until the end. They teach their children to never give up. Yes, Malcolm is from the Greatest Generation, but Dr. Sydnor represents his generation as a close second!

*Incidentally, Dr. Sydnor has now operated on all three Malcolm Burgesses! My nephew Malcolm H. Burgess III for a barnyard knee injury and infection more than 15 years ago; my brother, Malcolm H. Burgess, Jr. for a broken leg from a horse falling on it a few years ago, and now my father Malcolm H. Burgess, Sr. I hope he’s on call if and when my emergency happens!

Thank you for all you do!

Sincerely,
Dixie Burgess Sears (Malcolm H. Burgess Sr.’s Daughter)