Back to Playing Guitar
"I cannot convey sufficiently in words the thanks I have for these wonderful people who took such great care of me. I know the many times I had to call for assistance at all hours of the day and night may have been bothersome at some other institutions,"
Bob Van Gorder is no stranger to orthopedic surgery. The retired Laguna
Beach police officer has undergone more than six surgeries, and he has
dreaded each one. So when he needed a total shoulder replacement, he braced
himself for the worst. Instead he got the best.
Scott Fischer, M.D., performed a left shoulder arthroplasty at
Hoag Orthopedic Institute (HOI). Twelve days later, Bob composed a letter to Carlos A. Prietto, M.D.,
CEO of HOI, naming each and every one of the 30 people who cared for him
in one capacity or another – from the anesthesiologist to the OR
scrub techs whose kind words and professional demeanor put him completely at ease.
“I cannot convey sufficiently in words the thanks I have for these
wonderful people who took such great care of me. I know the many times
I had to call for assistance at all hours of the day and night may have
been bothersome at some other institutions, but here, they were answered
without delay, and always with professionalism and a warm smile. I knew
I was in the right place with caring professionals truly doing God’s
work. The food was excellent, delivered on time and again, always with
a smile. I very much appreciated a visit from Chaplain [Duan] Machiavello,
who visited me and prayed with and for me for deliverance from my pain.”
HOI has won many awards, is consistently ranked nationally for quality
indicators including a 5-Star Hospital Quality Rating from Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services, and
U.S. News & World Report. While national recognition speaks to a medical teams’ expertise,
no accolades can convey what it’s like to go through a high-anxiety
situation as a patient. That is why Bob decided to put pen to paper to
express his gratitude.
“You truly represent the epitome of caring, knowledgeable, and professional
physicians,” he wrote. “The care I received from you was simply
outstanding, and I appreciate it more than you will ever know.”
Two months after his surgery, Bob is back to playing bass guitar in his
band X-it Plan. Though he has to sit, rather than stand, to balance his
10-pound bass on his left shoulder, the pain that plagued him for eight
years is gone. His debut tune with his new shoulder was a Booker T. &
the MG’s tune, “Time is Tight.”
“I’m playing music more and not having to cut rehearsals early.
It was just really achy all the time, like someone constantly sticking
a needle in my back,” he said. “I’m just looking forward
to enjoying life to the fullest, and now I think I can do that.”
To learn more about Hoag Orthopedic Institute, visit