William Osler, the founder of modern medicine, famously said, “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.” Dr. Alan Schroeder firmly believes the best way to diagnose the patient is by becoming an active and targeted listener. By developing the skills of a targeted listener, Dr. Schroeder is able to develop a customized diagnosis and action plan for the patient. Targeted listening also saves time for both the patient and Dr. Schroeder. Medical tests like x-rays and MRIs are effective at providing a glimpse into the anatomical state of a case, but Dr. Schroeder believes a patient’s description of their current symptoms forges the cleanest path to a successful diagnosis.
As an undergrad majoring in Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Schroeder always knew he would pursue a career in medicine. During medical school, he developed keen regard for the study of the human body. "In medical school, you study the human body like it's a machine, and it was intriguing for me to see how all the parts worked together," said Dr. Schroeder. This progression of interest led Dr. Schroeder to select the field of Orthopedics as his specialty.
Dr. Schroeder is Board certified in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and one of a few Baton Rouge area orthopedic surgeons to have completed Fellowship training in Sports Medicine. He completed a dually accredited arthroscopy and sports medicine fellowship (extra subspecialty training) at MSMOC after orthopedics at UMMC. During the time of his fellowship, arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder was a relatively new intervention, and Dr. Schroeder had the privilege of training under a pair of top shoulder specialists in the country. Today, Dr. Schroeder treats patients with shoulder pain and prescribes an individualized solution to their problem. Conditions such as shoulder rotator cuff bursitis, bone spurs, ligament damage, inflamed tissue, loose cartilage, and shoulder dislocation can all be treated conservatively or by minimally invasive methods when necessary.
While his background and training have provided him with the expertise to perform the most complex surgical interventions, Dr. Schroeder always keeps the patient’s quality of life at the center of his diagnosis. “Surgery is not the answer for every patient, which is another reason why I listen to every single patient during their consultation,” says Dr. Schroeder. “Sometimes physical therapy or other surgical alternatives may be the best solution for a healthy outcome for the patient.”
When surgery is necessary and right for a patient, Dr. Schroeder is motivated to do everything he can perfectly. Much of the skill required to perform interventions, like an arthroscopic shoulder surgery, is gained through education and certified training. However, Dr. Schroeder is humbled by his abilities as a surgeon and understands helping other people is a gift which is why he enjoys the post-operative consultation. “Seeing the patient getting back to doing things that they desired before the surgery is extremely rewarding for me,” says Dr. Schroeder. Some may say he earned this gratifying feeling through hard work and training. This observation may be accurate, but other people, including Dr. Schroeder, feel meeting each patient's goal for a healthy recovery starts with developing the communication skill of targeted listening.