Winter 2019 Highlights From The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York

Mar. 29, 2019

Time to get cozy! We’ve curated our most memorable stories from the winter season at The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York. Enjoy!

Onward and Upward: Dr. Kaiser’s Patient Tommy

When Tommy Javenes fell 40 feet while descending a mountain in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley, it seemed his active lifestyle would be a thing of the past. The fall had left him with an injured neck and spine, and he was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he underwent rehabilitation for three weeks while the doctors waited for his condition to stabilize for surgery. Then, when he was discharged from inpatient rehab and began outpatient therapy, he began searching for a surgeon who could help fix his spine.

Tommy knew about the neurosurgery department at Columbia because that’s where his wife had received treatment for brain cancer. While he was happy with the care he had received at the local hospital, ultimately, he said, “I was like, ‘You know what? [Columbia is] just such a great hospital, I’d rather be somewhere where I know the care is so great.’ ”

There he met Dr. Michael Kaiser, who would repair his spine, and Tommy would not just recover but push himself to achieve great physical feats and prove that nothing is impossible.

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Making of a Spine Physical Therapist: Dr. Evan Johnson

If you’ve ever wanted to know—really know—a doctor before you set foot in his office, our Making of… series is perfect for you. In each story, readers learn how one of our doctors came to be and the challenges he overcame. For example, you can read Dr. Paul McCormick’s story by clicking here.

The latest in the series is not about one of our neurosurgeons but about our beloved spine physical therapist, Dr. Evan Johnson, Director of Physical Therapy at the Spine Hospital. From his youth on, Dr. Johnson has had an eventful, rewarding journey marked by formative experiences, like when he started dancing to manage back pain and then went on to dance professionally around Europe.

His back pain would become a common theme in his life and eventually draw him toward physical therapy as a profession, where he would not only excel but lead as the Spine Hospital’s Director of Physical Therapy.

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Ivy Football Association Honors Neurosurgeon & Columbia Lion Dr. Paul McCormick

Our neurosurgeons are often recognized within their profession for their significant contributions to medicine. But never before has one of ours received an award from a football association. Yet that is exactly what happened.

Director of the Spine Hospital, Dr. Paul McCormick, was selected as Columbia’s 2019 honoree for the Ivy Football Association. Every year, the association honors a former football player from each Ivy League school who has excelled in his profession.

And after playing four years of football at Columbia, Dr. McCormick has gone on to excel both locally, as Director of the Spine Hospital, and nationally, as a recognized leader in the field of neurosurgery.

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The Tried-and-True Plus the Exciting-and-New: Treating Pediatric Scoliosis

“Children are not small adults” is a mantra heard often in pediatrics. It serves as a reminder that treatments that work for adults do not necessarily work for children. Fine-tuning is often needed to develop treatments that incorporate the unique aspects of children, such as their growing bodies.

No one knows that better than pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Richard C.E. Anderson, who actively works to fine-tune treatments so they are better suited for young patients. Recently, Dr. Anderson and two colleagues in the Columbia Orthopedics department published a paper that outlines the best techniques for treating scoliosis in children and adolescents.

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Spine Surgeons Earn Patients’ Choice Award—Again

Everything our spine surgeons do is with patient care in mind. So when patients recognize our surgeons for providing the best care possible, it really matters. Five of our neurosurgeons received the Patients’ Choice Award, an honor given only to doctors who receive top ratings and reviews from their patients:

These same neurosurgeons were also recognized for their short wait times with the On-Time Doctor Award. And the accolades don’t stop there.

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Learn more about our Spine Hospital neurosurgeons on their bio pages below:

Learn more about Director of Physical Therapy Dr. Evan Johnson on his bio page here.

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