For this week’s Making the Rounds, we interviewed Chase T. Kluemper, MD. Born and raised here in Lexington, Dr. Kluemper is an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in the elbow, wrist and hand. We chatted with Dr. Kluemper about why he enjoys treating patients of all ages, how he likes to include patients in the decision making process, and why the UK HealthCare Hand Center at UK HealthCare – Turfland is such a benefit for his patients.
What’s it like treating patients of all ages? What patients do you see?
One of the greatest things about the field of hand surgery in general, is that I can see babies, I see congenital problems, all the way up to octogenarians who have arthritis issues. I treat athletes. I treat people with traumatic injuries, doing their woodworking on the weekend and managed to cut a finger off or injure a flexor tendon; those are my guys. So there's a wide variety of stuff that I see, and that's kind of the reason I like it, is the breadth of patient care is very wide.
How do you work so well with such a wide age range of patients?
I like to educate patients as much as I can. I draw a lot of pictures, I talk about the science and I try to make it relatable for them since not everybody has a science background. And ultimately, I like to have them make the decision. This isn't a culture of “the doctor always knows best.” The doctor may know the most about a condition, but I think it's important to have the patient set the tone for what they want, and give them all the information and let them make their choices.
Getting kids back to a semi-normal or more functional state after either an injury or a congenital anomaly is pretty rewarding. Additionally, the athlete population is pretty exciting. So I can operate on these D1 athletes here at UK, and some athletes around the state in various colleges and universities and high school athletes, and then turn on the TV on Saturday and they're making big plays or read about them in the paper. That's pretty cool.
Why is the new Turfland Clinic so beneficial for patients?
We just opened this brand-new facility out on Turfland: Turfland Clinic. It's right next to Home Depot on Harrodsburg Road. It's a multi-specialty clinic dedicated to the hand. So we have plastic surgeons, orthopedic surgeons and hand therapists, which is something pretty unique to Lexington specifically and in the field of hand surgery in general, because when you have all three of those facets under one roof, the patient only stands to benefit. So I can take a patient from the room, walk them over to the hand therapist, and say “Mr. Doe here has X,Y, and Z, and these are our goals, and here's what we want to achieve, and let's talk about how we can make that happen.” We don't have to worry about getting lost in translation, driving across town, filling out a prescription or taking an order somewhere. It's all right there in one place. We're really excited about it. Patients have liked it so far – a lot easier parking. A brand-new beautiful facility, so yeah, come check it out.
Tell us about your relationship with the Lexington Surgery Center.
The Lexington Surgery Center is right next door [to the Turfland Clinic]. So we do surgery probably 200 feet from the clinic. It's a physically separate building, but it's a joint enterprise between UK and some of the community physicians in town. Great facility, also brand new. And it's nice that patients can come to one location and say, hey, here's where I'll be in clinic, and if surgery is appropriate, then that's where I'll be in surgery, as well.
Watch our full interview with Dr. Kluemper.