Dr. Lloyd Hey
Compassion Through Understanding
Dr. Lloyd Hey was first introduced to orthopedic care when he was hit by a car at age sixteen. The accident proved to be serious, causing a potentially life and limb-threatening injury as several doctors agreed that his left leg could not be saved. Despite this, Dr. Mark Pitman, a highly experienced trauma surgeon, took on Dr. Hey’s difficult case. In addition to eleven surgeries, including bone grafting, tissue flaps and debridements, Dr. Pitman also used a special Hoffmann external fixator in an attempt to give Dr. Hey the chance to walk again on his own leg, instead of a prosthetic alternative. The process was painful; Dr. Hey battled severe infections and over a year of fixators, casts and rehabilitation in his efforts to learn to walk again.
Eventually, Dr. Hey used his “tinkering” hobby, an engineering interest acquired from his father, to create a better design for the external fixator. The young Dr. Hey shared his design with Dr. Pitman, who applied the design in the hope of stabilizing Dr. Hey’s tibia bone fragments more securely. To the joy of both, the new fixator helped. Through his newly designed fixator, and the help of Dr. Pitman, Dr. Hey’s pain decreased, and his bone slowly began to heal.
For the young doctor, this experience as a patient was eye opening. Dr. Hey felt and saw firsthand the pain of lying in a hospital bed for months, the fear that accompanies uncertainty and the flaws of healthcare delivery systems. He also witnessed the unbelievable perseverance of his orthopedic surgeon, nurses and physical and occupational therapists whose unwavering compassion significantly aided the young doctor’s healing.
Through these experiences, Dr. Hey was motivated to use his “tinkering” abilities to help others someday. This goal led him to pursue training in pre-med and engineering at MIT, where he developed a new technique for studying how the body uses natural electrical fields to stimulate cartilage and bone healing. Years later, after earning a degree at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Hey was inspired by two doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. John Hall and Dr. John Emans, and their use of internal fixators. Unlike their external counterpart, these devices are actually placed inside to minimize suffering while changing the shape and the lives of children and adults.
A Commitment To Reshaping Lives
After finishing his training in scoliosis and pediatric orthopedics at Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Hey completed an adult orthopedic and neurosurgery spine fellowship at Duke University Medical Center. He was then asked to join the faculty and began his career helping patients with complex spinal conditions. In 2005, he started the Hey Clinic adjacent to Duke Raleigh Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is here that Dr. Hey currently serves under his vision of creating a scoliosis center of excellence for the treatment of children, adolescents and adults.
Though focusing primarily on scoliosis and kyphosis, Dr. Hey is committed to improving and maintaining the quality of life for all people suffering from spinal disorders. Dr. Hey consistently researches innovative techniques and advanced technologies to ensure that each patient receives the best quality of care. Dr. Hey also demonstrates his love for education to each patient, who, along with his or her family, receives ample education during each consultation. It is Dr. Hey’s desire that his patients and their loved ones fully understand his or her condition and treatment options. For this reason, Dr. Hey believes in allowing generous times for appointments, so that when one is first diagnosed with scoliosis, facing the choice of scoliosis bracing or considering the decision for surgery, there is plenty of time for a thorough evaluation and discussion. Subsequently, this non-rushed, educational and compassionate approach to each consultation is one reason Dr. Hey is frequently contacted by patients and families seeking a second opinion.