Diagnosed at birth with sickle cell disease—a hereditary condition affecting the red blood cells—Shawn Smith learned at an early age how to live with limits.
“You really have to watch yourself,” says Smith, 18, whose symptoms included dizziness, exhaustion and pain. “I loved to play sports, but I had to pace myself.”
Need an Orthopedic Surgeon?
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Misty Suri or another Ochsner specialist today!
The New Orleans resident explored his passion for a variety of athletics, playing quarterback (“I’ve got a great arm!” he says) and other positions that didn’t require him to run too much. In his freshman year of high school, Smith hurt his leg during a baseball game, but given his increased tolerance for pain, he says he didn’t think anything of it. His physical state worsened over the next two years, however—and leg pain, fatigue and decreased mobility finally sent him to his doctors at Ochsner in 2015.
Smith’s injury had resulted in reduced blood circulation to his leg and deterioration of his hip joint. His orthopedic specialist referred him to Dr. Misty Suri, Senior Attending Orthopedic Surgeon at the Ochsner Sports Medicine Institute.
“Dr. Suri was great to talk to,” Smith says. “He got to know how I was feeling, answered my questions and made decisions based on my needs. It’s wonderful to have such personal care.” Dr. Suri ultimately performed a hip arthroscopy, which was followed by six months of physical therapy at Ochsner Hospital – Elmwood. In September 2016, Dr. Suri performed an arthroscopic surgical femoroplasty and labral repair, a specialized operation that involved reshaping the malformed femoral head of the hip joint.
An expert in advanced orthopedic procedures, Dr. Suri is world renowned in his field. His fellowship training with leading sports surgeon Dr. Richard J. Hawkins at the prestigious Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, as well as other international study fellowship opportunities, gave him the knowledge and experience to perform these complicated surgeries. “When you have been fortunate enough to have been trained by the best in the world, you get to offer that expertise to your patients,” says Dr. Suri. “It’s very valuable for patients and sets us apart here at Ochsner.”
For his part, Smith credits all the members of his care team for the exceptional treatment he received. “It’s a cool environment at Ochsner. You can talk to the doctors in a relaxed way, but we always get down to business,” he says. “They don’t say things just to make you feel better; they tell you the truth, and that makes me feel better.”
“Our patients receive the best care on the planet,” says Dr. Suri. “That goes from surgical and nonsurgical care to physical therapy as well. Here, it is always a team effort.”
Although Smith had to miss some of his senior year of high school recovering from the hip arthroscopy, he graduated and is now majoring in accounting at Southern University at New Orleans.
“I’ve always felt that you have to make the best of the hand you’ve been dealt,” Smith says. “This was just another hurdle I had to get over to achieve my goals and make myself even stronger.”