Contribute Try STAT+ Today

Basilia Nwankwo

Howard University Hospital

Basilia Nwankwo is no stranger to broken bones. As an orthopedic trauma doctor at Howard University Hospital, she works with patients who are often the victims of road traffic accidents, who have suffered gunshot wounds, or who have complex injuries.

“It’s pretty intense work,” said Nwankwo. “But it’s extremely rewarding, especially if you can take your patients from their trauma event to their recovery event.”

Such was the case earlier this year when a man who had been in a car-related accident and now needed a wheelchair came into her care. Some six weeks into his therapy he had an appointment with Nwankwo.

“At that six-week follow-up, I had to build his spirits up in terms of convincing him that he will be able to walk again,” Nwankwo said. But the man was afraid that if he ever tried to stand, let alone walk, he would be in immeasurable pain. At the end of the visit she asked him to stand from his wheelchair. And he did. Then she asked him to start walking to her. And he did.

“He just started crying,” Nwankwo said. She asked if he was OK, “He shook his head and said, ‘No, this is amazing! I didn’t expect to feel this way.’”

“It’s pretty intense work,” said Nwankwo. “But it’s extremely rewarding, especially if you can take your patients from their trauma event to their recovery event.”

Nwanko also does research looking at the types of outcomes that her patients, many of whom are homeless and have orthopedic trauma, can expect. She attributes her need to work with underserved patients to her experiences seeing underserved people with trauma in Nigeria, the country she immigrated from as a child.

—  Nicholas St. Fleur

Your daily dose of news in health and medicine

Privacy Policy