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Sports / Orthopedic

Specialized Care Helps Malenia Get Back on Her Feet

May 2 2022

Malenia Bell, one of our medical assistants, was experiencing continuous knee pain. So, she decided to make an appointment with Michael S. Laidlaw, MD, one of our orthopedic sports medicine surgeons.

From the start, Malenia found Dr. Laidlaw’s approach refreshing.

“He was fabulous,” she recalls. “He did some X-rays and said, ‘It’s an IT band issue. Let’s do some physical therapy and see how that goes. You can follow up if you need to because your symptoms may persist or worsen.’”

Dr. Laidlaw has extensive experience in creating individualized non-surgical and surgical treatment plans to aid patients in their recovery.

“It is imperative that both the patient and physician be on the same page as to managing the patient’s goals and expectations when it comes to musculoskeletal care,” he shares. “That partnership is vital in encouraging transparent conversations that result in improved care and positive outcomes.”

Malenia adds, “I was happy that he wasn’t pushing for expensive imaging. His approach was to get me in some therapy and see if we could fix it that way.”

Things were going well with excellent results in physical therapy. That is until Malenia had an unfortunate accident.

“I did a Christmas walk and that caused tightening in my knee. I twisted my knee the wrong way and something popped. While my meniscus may have already had some wear, after doing that, I finished it,” Malenia shares. “I couldn’t walk or put any pressure on my knee.”

It was then Malenia returned to see Dr. Laidlaw.

“It is very easy to schedule with him,” she recalls. “I just used the QR code on his business card and it worked very well. When I injured my knee worse and needed to be seen, I got in two hours later. He said, ‘let’s get imaging and figure it out.’ I had completely torn that meniscus. We had a conversation. He spent time with me and explained my injury as well as the treatment options available to treat the injury.” 

On Dec. 17, 2021, Malenia had surgery. The surgical technique that Dr. Laidlaw utilized was able to save and repair the meniscus. Malenia was able to return to work on Jan. 10, 2022.

“My surgery was great, and the recovery was phenomenal,” she says while noting the good encounters she had in physical therapy with Alicia Niebauer as well.

“Alicia is fantastic, very approachable and always got back with me. Overall, it was a great experience.”

As for Dr. Laidlaw, he explains that he was first inspired to go into medicine after shadowing an orthopedic surgeon during a high school mentorship program.

“The ability to help patients restore function and alleviate their pain became an interest of mine,” he says. “I love the biomechanics of the orthopedic field and how technology and surgery can improve people’s quality of life.”

Dr. Laidlaw recently joined us at Mercy Health – Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Anderson and Eastgate and we are so excited to have him on our team. He specializes in complex knee and shoulder surgeries, both open and arthroscopic. He is also board-certified in both general orthopedic surgery and in orthopedic sports medicine by the ABOS.

“The joy and happiness that people share at being able to return to their desired quality of life and my efforts at being able to assist them is very rewarding for me,” Dr. Laidlaw shares. “I once provided shoulder replacements for a gentleman where, at his follow-up appointment, both he and his wife commented that it was the first time in 20 years that he had been able to hug his wife without pain. They were both so grateful, with tears in their eyes.”

In his free time, Dr. Laidlaw enjoys hiking, spending time with family and friends, exercising and enjoying Cincinnati food, culture and sporting events.

Learn more about the orthopedic and sports medicine services we offer at Mercy Health.

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