Personal Attention Eases Man’s Surgical Experience
Phillip Stokes, a captain in the Salvation Army, plays basketball and enjoys motorcycle rides. But when he broke his ankle for the first time, it was from tripping at home at 4 a.m., he observed with a laugh.
Later that morning, he went to urgent care. Providers gave him a temporary cast and referred him to UNC Orthopedics at Goldsboro for specialized treatment. There, he met L. Davis Frederick III, MD, an orthopedic surgeon.
“He said to treat my break, I’d need surgery,” Capt. Stokes recalled. “I appreciated that he was upfront and honest. He answered all my questions and made me feel comfortable.”
Dr. Frederick even offered to schedule the patient’s surgery sooner than usual—just a few days after the ankle break—so Capt. Stokes could go on a cruise he’d planned with his wife, Sherrie. The surgeon said, “’You won’t be able to do anything, but you can go.’ He got me worked in.”
The doctor was right, Capt. Stokes recalled with a laugh. “I enjoyed the views on the cruise, but I was in a wheelchair the whole time. But he said there was no reason I wouldn’t eventually resume normal activities.”
‘Everyone Treated Me Like I Was the Only Patient’
Surgery took place in late August to stabilize the broken ankle bone with plates and screws. Capt. Stokes received his procedure at Wayne UNC Health Care, which recently opened an advanced Surgery Center designed to improve the patient experience.
“From the moment I arrived, it felt like home,” he said. “Everyone treated me like I was the only patient there that day.” Nurses “constantly checked not just on me, but also my wife.” Throughout surgery, Sherrie waited in a family-friendly area with many amenities for visitors.
When he woke up from anesthesia, nurses told him to always communicate his pain level so they could treat it well. “As soon as I said I was hurting, they were right on top of it, making sure the pain was managed. They helped tremendously.”
Capt. Stokes went home with pain medication and instructions for keeping his foot elevated and iced. Thanks in part to Sherrie’s care, he was eventually able to go back to his job directing the Salvation Army in Goldsboro with her. It helped that he followed all Dr. Frederick’s care instructions, too. “He told me what to expect, and I listened to everything he told me to do.”
‘One of the Best Experiences I’ve Had at a Hospital’
Over a few weeks, Capt. Stokes progressed from a wheelchair to a knee scooter to crutches, then a single crutch, and finally, no aids at all. A father of four, he’s back to playing with his kids—battling with Nerf guns with his youngest, and shooting a few basketballs with his teenage son. He’s working on regaining full range of motion in his foot and knows he can speed up the healing process with physical therapy if he chooses.
Surgery at Wayne UNC “was one of the best experiences I have ever had a hospital,” he wrote in a note of thanks to his caregivers. He’d like future patients to know “you’re in good hands when you walk in those doors. Listen to what the staff tell you; they always have your best interests in mind.”
Learn more about Wayne UNC patients and read their testimonials.