I have been a patient of Dr Hart's for about 6 years. I have nothing but the highest regard for him, and would not hesitate to send my family members or friends to him. He is an excellent surgeon, chair of the Spine department at OHSU. I have had two very extensive surgeries with him, and am now doing very well and nearly 2 years post-op.
Dr Hart will explain all your options to you and give you his opinion. He is open to explaining why other options may not be advisable for you. After seeing him several years ago he recommended a long fusion from T8-sacrum, which I was scared to death about. I got another opinion from Dr Keenan in Tualatin who recommended a smaller, two-level anterior fusion while acknowledging that I would still need a long fusion within a 2-3 years if I had the smaller surgery with him. I called Dr Hart's coordinator, Robin (who is absolutely amazing in every way) and she had him call me the same morning to discuss my options and explain in more detail why he did not recommend the smaller surgery. He also invited me to bring my husband and/or family for another visit with him so we could all be on the same page about why he felt I needed such an extensive surgery. I was impressed with this level of communication over the phone by a top-level surgeon.
You ask about residents and fellows…I met two of his fellows during my hospitalizations, and I met them briefly in the office, but office visits are always conducted by Dr Hart. When hospitalized, I saw the residents and fellow twice a day, and Dr Hart usually every day. One warning is you should be prepared to wait in the office, as Dr Hart will take the time necessary with each patient. I usually wait 1-1.5 hours beyond my appointment time, but I am ok with that because he always makes sure I have all my questions answered. The office is very prompt and helpful about handling needed prescriptions or paperwork (such as work releases or PT prescriptions).
I was in OHSU for 6 days after each of my surgeries (the first one was a little over 3 years ago). I did not have a favorable impression of my care during the first hospitalization. I did have a few good nurses, but I also had two in particular that were awful. When I broke my rods 2 years ago (due to my body's failure to fuse solidly at two levels) and learned I had to have a huge revision, I broke down in tears in Dr Hart's office and told him what a bad experience I had had in the hospital. He was very concerned for me, and told me he would make sure my second hospitalization was much better. I was contacted right after that by the OHSU patient care advocate (some title similar to that) and she spent a long time with me on the phone (me sobbing through much of it) wanting me to tell her every detail about my negative experience. She was very compassionate and sincere. I got a letter from her several weeks later thanking me for being willing to share my experiences so they could improve their care. The letter went on to say that the one scary ICU nurse I had no longer worked there, and that the other one I had named would be receiving some "job coaching." When I had my revision surgery I was in a beautiful new ortho-spine wing. The rooms were large, clean and comfortable, not to mention each one is private. I had absolutely top of the line nursing care, and excellent pain control. I am a nurse myself so I have a complete picture of what excellent nursing care should be like. A totally different experience than the first time around.
Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have about Dr Hart or OHSU. You can post here or send me a private message.
Best of luck,
Gayle, age 46
Boston brace as a teen for AIS
Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation, TLIF at L4/5.
Feb 2012 major A/P revision for broken rods
mom of Leah, 12 y/o, diagnosed Jan '08 with 26* thoracic JIS (age 6)
4/08 26 degrees, brace 16 hrs/day
9/08 17 deg. OOB - brace discontinued
9/09 30 deg, resuming brace
5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
5/14 stable 4 yrs post-op, 14* T
also mom of Torrey, 9 y/o son, 12* T, decreasing spontaneously (from 19*)