When he was eighteen, Claude Scott made up his mind to become an orthopedic surgeon. “I have an orthopedic condition called Blount’s disease, which causes a bowing of the knees. I had orthopedic surgery done when I was eighteen to correct the deformity,” recalls Dr. Scott, chief of orthopedic surgery at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. “Seeing those rods and pins attached to my legs got me excited about the field. Moreover, my parents could not afford to have the complete surgeries that were needed to correct my deformities. Now, I have the opportunity to give other kids the chance I did not have.”
Having that opportunity keeps Scott excited about his work. “The most rewarding aspect of my practice is the gratitude of the patients, especially the children whose lives you sometimes literally transform by correcting their deformity or relieving their pain and suffering,” he says. He recounts the story of a child who was a “D” student when he had a hip problem that required him to wear a brace in school. “He hated going to school. However, after I performed surgery to fix his hip and he no longer required a brace, he enjoyed going to school and playing basketball. He became an ‘A’ student. That story made me realize how much a social impact my intervention can have on these patients.”
There’s the child with the yellow rose. “When I was holding clinic in Georgetown, Guyana, during one of my medical missions to that country, one of the kids that I had performed surgery on during my previous visit came for a follow-up with a single yellow rose in her hand to give me. That totally made my day.”
His work is no bed of roses, however. “The most challenging part of my practice is convincing a lot of the parents that their baby does not require any treatment, that the problem will get better as the child grows,” he says. “This situation is where the Internet has helped us a lot. Parents can now go online and read about their child’s problem and not just hear it from me.”
A Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Scott graduated from State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine in Brooklyn. He is a member of the Brooklyn Orthopedic Society, the Pediatric Orthopedic Club of New York, Cornwall College (Jamaica) Old Boy’s Association of New York, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, and Health and Education Relief for Guyana.