A conversation with Dr. Jesus A. Castillo
Dr. Castillo is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon at AnMed Health Community Orthopaedics. He is a graduate of the Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He also has a master's degree in biological sciences from Barry University in Miami, Fla., and a bachelor of arts from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Q: When did you decide to become a doctor?
A: Funny, I am not one of those people that says, “I always wanted to be a doctor since I was a kid.” I was actually mulling around in community college when I just realized that I really liked sports medicine. I made the decision at that point to attend the University of South Florida to complete my bachelor’s with plans of going on to medical school.
Q: Why did you choose osteopathic medicine?
A: I am probably in the minority in that I knew going into medicine what it is that I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to be an orthopaedic surgeon. With that in mind I was intrigued by the osteopathic approach to the whole body of the patient rather than just the symptom. There seemed to be a greater emphasis on the musculoskeletal system and the patient as a whole.
Q: What appealed to you about orthopaedics?
A: I think that if you ask most orthopaedic surgeons, there is some tie to athletics and sports in general as they grew up. I guess that in that aspect I am no different. In addition to being an athlete when I was younger, I was an athletic trainer while at USF and really enjoyed working with the athletes, assessing and managing their injuries and returning them to their sport. There is a great sense of accomplishment in being able to asses a patient’s problem, addressing the problem and then watching them return to their preferred activities.
Q: What has been the most surprising thing you have learned as you study and practice medicine?
A: For me the most surprising aspect has been the ability of the human body to sustain injuries and heal and of people’s ability to persevere through those injuries. To watch a 40-year-old Marine that lost both legs above the knee as well as part of his hand during the war, walk into my office on his prosthetics with an upbeat go-get’em attitude, to get some forms signed off so that he can continue to work. It is really amazing what people can sustain and get through physically with the proper care and outlook.
Q: What was it like to serve the U.S. Navy during your overseas deployment to Kuwait?
A: I think that deploying is always tough regardless of the branch of service one is in. You are away from your family and although there is plenty of sand and sun, it is definitely not the Caribbean! It is HOT and it is dirty, but despite the hardships I had the opportunity to meet and work with some great people. As a medical team our goal was to support all of the personnel and smaller medical facilities in Kuwait, Iraq and the ships in the Gulf.
Q: What’s one thing you have learned from sports medicine that the rest of us should know?
A: I think that it is important to know that a sports injury doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your goals; more often it is just another obstacle that you have to get around. With the proper care and rehabilitation you can still accomplish what you set your mind to.
Q: What medical advice do you give most often?
A: Well this is actually more of a joke that I tell my patients then actual advice, but the thing that I probably say the most is—“I know that it says Jesus on my coat, but I am not actually him.” Medical advice itself can vary depending on the patients and their problem. I think as an orthopaedic surgeon what I have to manage the most is expectations! Hence my little joke. Expectations are often the most difficult issues to manage. I take my time speaking with and trying to educate my patients about their respective injuries and what they are likely to expect.
Q: What is the best professional advice you ever received?
A: Work hard, do what is right and NEVER stop learning!
Q: When you’re not practicing medicine, what are we most likely to find you doing?
A: Something with my family — watching my son play lacrosse, playing racquetball with my wife and son, enjoying the outdoors or just sitting on the back deck relaxing.
The 411 on Dr. Jesus Castillo
Specialty: General orthopaedics with emphasis in sports medicine cartilage restoration, hip arthroscopy and trauma
Practice: AnMed Health Community Orthopaedics
Location: 2000 E. Greenville St., Suite 3950, Anderson, S.C. 29621