Until He Met Jacksonville Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Bruce Steinberg, George Bartley Could Barely Use His Arm Due to a Massive Rotator Cuff Tear

George Bartley recalls sustaining an injury nearly 30 years ago while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and that is when his shoulder pain began. He believes that his later work as a paramedic, carrying stretchers and heavy equipment, likely aggravated his condition. In 2012, Mr. Bartley’s pain level and diminished arm function had grown to the point that he sought help. A surgeon at another local practice suggested shoulder surgery. “I went into that first surgery with great hope that my shoulder would be repaired and the pain would be better.” Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. Mr. Bartley returned to the same surgeon, who performed a second surgery six months later, in another attempt to repair Mr. Bartley’s shoulder. Again, the surgery was unsuccessful. “In fact, after the second surgery, my pain became much worse than before either of the surgeries was performed. I couldn’t sleep or move my arm. I was miserable.”

Fortunately, about nine months later, Mr. Bartley found his way to Bruce Steinberg, M.D., specialist in upper extremities. “What drove me to Dr. Steinberg is that I was in agony. I could barely use my arm. I had returned to the first surgeon who told me my only option at that point was to have a total shoulder replacement. As a nurse, I know that shoulder replacement is a significant surgery. Unfortunately I no longer had confidence that he was going to be able to help me.” So Mr. Bartley turned to his primary care physician for a recommendation. “He said that I needed to go see Dr. Steinberg at JOI. He is the best.”

From the very beginning, Mr. Bartley appreciated Dr. Steinberg’s approach. “Dr. Steinberg was extremely professional. He was not condescending of the other doctor but very diplomatically and honestly described what was happening with my shoulder. He showed me the x-ray, and explained that my shoulder was out of place by almost a full inch.” Mr. Bartley goes on to say that while he was angry that his earlier surgeries had worsened his condition, he gained solace and comfort in the plan that Dr. Steinberg proposed. “Dr. Steinberg explained that while it was not going to be easy, he felt confident that he could help me without having to replace my entire shoulder.”
Upon examination and testing, Dr. Steinberg diagnosed Mr. Bartley with a massive rotator cuff tear. Dr. Steinberg performed a right shoulder arthroscopy, with extensive debridement of glenohumeral joint arthritis, subacromial decompression, removal of foreign material and revision of a rotator cuff massive, scarred tear.
Mr. Bartley is delighted to report that just three days after the surgery performed by Dr. Steinberg, his pain level was decreasing. “As a nurse, I know that is significant, because there is always post-surgical pain. Obviously Dr. Steinberg had given me the surgery that I needed, and had done it well.” Now, after following a protocol of physical therapy, Mr. Bartley has no pain, is back to having full motion of his arm and his arm strength has returned. He is happy to say that this is the best he has felt in 30 years. 

“After the unsuccessful surgeries I had prior to becoming a patient of Dr. Steinberg, I remember telling my friends that if this doesn’t work, I just wanted to get to the point where I could allow my wife to rest her head on my shoulder. Thanks to Dr. Steinberg, my wife is back to making ‘honey do’ lists, and I’m back to being able to complete everything she asks! If I could say one thing to Dr. Steinberg it would be: ‘Thank you. Thank you for giving me back my life when others could not.’”

– George Bartley