"Dr. Bodenstab gave me the straight story" – Marian Shelton, 68, retired, Wilmington, Del.

“My osteoarthritis was pretty severe for several years, and I knew in my heart that I’d have to have knee replacements. Of course, I didn’t want to go through surgery, and when I went to see Dr. Bodenstab for the first time, I told him so. He took X-rays of my knees and showed me how bad the damage was. ‘You need joint replacements,’ he told me, point-blank. But he added that there were other alternatives, and although he didn’t think they would be particularly effective, he was willing to try them if that’s what I wanted. The fact that he gave me the straight story without being pushy actually made it easier for me to accept the truth, and I ended up having both knees replaced over the course of two years. Today, I have absolutely no pain in either knee and can get around more easily than I’ve been able to in years. I credit not only Dr. Bodenstab’s surgical skills, but his excellent bedside manner, which made me a calmer, more informed patient.”

Alex B. Bodenstab, MD, Orthopaedic surgeon at First State Orthopaedics, Newark, Del.

“Much of Marian’s success with her knee replacements is thanks to her patience. Her replacements took a little longer than average to heal, and there were times during her post-op recovery that she felt frustrated – and rightfully so; even though we’ve come a long way in joint replacement surgery, it’s still hard on the body and can be painful. And yet Marian was willing to persevere. She worked tirelessly with her physical therapists and me to get to a good, functioning level and in the end she had the best outcome possible.”

 

"Dr. Zito likes that I’m an informed patient" – LaRita B. Jacobs, 48, educator, Indian Shores, Fla.

“As an arthritis educator and someone who likes to be up-to-date on the latest research, I need a physician who wants me to be a willing participant in the management of my psoriatic arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome. It doesn’t sound like a tall order – but I can’t tell you how many physicians have been patronizing or downright insulted when I came in with a list of questions or asked for more information before agreeing to take a medication. That’s why Dr. Zito is my dream doctor. Not only is she extremely knowledgeable and an excellent diagnostician, she actually encourages me to ask questions and do my own research. And she’s as thorough as I am: My first visit with her was an hour-and-a-half long, and my regular checkups often come in close to that. I never feel rushed or like I’m just another patient to check off her list of the day.”

Susan Zito, DO, MPH, Rheumatologist in private practice, Largo, Fla.

“If only more patients were like LaRita. Each time she comes to my office, we sit and have an intelligent, thoughtful conversation about her condition. That’s wonderful, because the more you know about your disease, the easier it is to understand how treatment works, which means you’re much more likely to stick with it. I really believe that informed patients do better overall. They feel like partners, rather than passive participants in their disease, so they ask questions, notice and tell their doctors when something’s amiss, and take more action to improve their health.”