COMMUNITY GEMS: Children’s doctor treats patients like family

Dr. Michael Albert’s orthopedic expertise helps kids in Dayton, around the world

Credit: Cameron Braun

Credit: Cameron Braun

In his 34 years at Dayton Children’s Hospital, Dr. Michael Albert has watched not only the hospital grow, but also his patients.

The chief of pediatric orthopedics now treats children whose parents were once his patients, too. It is a rewarding part of the job, he said.

“Once I operate on a child, I feel like they’re part of my family,” he said.

Albert’s patients range from babies to young adults. One day he might be consulting with a pregnant mother whose ultrasound showed a missing limb or a club foot. Another day he might be performing scoliosis surgery on a high school athlete.

The department’s internationally renowned spine program and other offerings attract patients from across the country and around the globe, Albert said.

What’s more, Albert’s input has helped medical device companies and engineers develop new devices, equipment and technology that has resulted in better care for scoliosis patients everywhere, said Katie Solovey, who nominated Albert as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem.

“Dr. Albert’s commitment to continuous innovation benefits not only the children in the Dayton region, but around the world,” said Solovey, the services marketing manager at the hospital. “His early adoption of new technologies and input into best practices means that scoliosis patients now have new, minimally invasive options for their treatment and care.”

For example, the ApiFix procedure is minimally invasive compared to the traditional fusion surgery, she said, and Albert and his team has performed more ApiFix procedures than almost anywhere else in the country.

Now patients arrive from others states to get a medical opinion about whether or not they should undergo that type of surgery, Albert said. Benefits include a smaller incision and shorter hospital stay.

Albert also is proud of the growth within his department. What began with two pediatric orthopedic surgeons has expanded to include eight specialists. What’s more, half of those specialists are female – particularly unique since only about 10 percent of the field nationally is comprised of women, he said.

Albert, originally from Canton, attended Miami University followed by a medical degree from Wright State University. He intended to be a pediatrician, but surgery rotations, some great mentors and a fellowship in pediatric orthopedics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia altered his path.

He returned to Ohio after that fellowship and has been in Dayton ever since.

“It’s been a very rewarding career for me being here,” said Albert, of Centerville.

He and other members of his team have a number of orthopedic specialties, and patients visit for a wide range of treatments, such as those relating to club feet, ACL injuries and hip dysplasia.

They also deal with fractures and traumas. Trampoline accidents result in many injuries and many patients. ATV and lawnmower injuries also aren’t uncommon.

But whatever the reason that children might first see him, he wants them to be full of energy when their visits come to an end.

“I want the kids to be active, doing sports and activities,” he said. “That’s what we’re all about.”

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