You could say Dr. Curtis C. Johnson is a hands-on kind of guy. He discovered he liked science as a young boy and has always enjoyed solving problems and improving the world around him. While in medical school, he saw these passions come together in the operating room, especially as it relates to hands.
“Anatomy is interesting to me, but I also think my passion comes from being able to see immediate results. If something is broken and needs to be fixed, I can see it and fix it,” he says.
After 23 years of performing operations for carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger fingers, lacerated nerves and arthritis in the hand, he’s still loving being a handyman in a surgical mask.
Delicate balance “It’s important to be confident, but a difficult question for me is when people ask, ‘Are you any good at this?’ If I say, ‘Yes, I am,’ then I sound prideful and puffed up. But on the other hand, if I’m overly humble, they might not have any confidence in me. So I tell them to ask around the community or talk to my staff.”
Opening shop “I remember the very first time I did a routine procedure without any supervisors or attending physicians. I stayed up that night wondering, ‘What happens if this person’s anatomy is completely different from what I’ve seen before?’ And finally I started to realize, ‘I’ve seen this before. I can do this.’”
Cost of growth “Medicine has changed a lot since I started. The need to be more cost-conscious has increased. In the past, we just focused on treating people. Now we certainly want to deliver excellent care, but we’re trying to make it as cost-effective for patients because most have huge deductibles and don’t want to spend more than they need to.”
Looking ahead “I’m excited about things I’ll probably never see in my career — the ability to potentially intervene, possibly even genetically. For example, we have no cure for arthritis, but if we were able to recognize people prone to that condition early and somehow intervene to spare their cartilage and avoid arthritis as they age, that would be tremendous.”