Category: Patient Stories

Jerry McCollum – Patient Story

When speaking with Jerry McCollum, you will quickly realize he feels God sent Dr. Jason Hatfield to help him through his wound care needs, specifically with an injury to his toe. Mr. McCollum, originally from Natchez, Mississippi, had a career as a Mill Rite Mechanic for over 30 years doing iron work. He also worked in the public schools. One day, Mr. McCollum was standing against a wall when a piece of steel fell on his toe and mashed it causing a painful injury. Mr. McCollum is also diabetic, making proper treatment of the injury even more crucial. Thankfully, when Mr. McCollum moved to Athens 5 years ago, he found Dr. Hatfield.

Dr. Hatfield has taken great care of him, getting him back to his everyday activities. He has treated him for wound care frequently on and off over the last 4-5 years. Mr. McCollum enjoys gardening and fishing, and loves being with people and his church family. You will also find him riding his recumbent bike!

“I feel blessed to have Dr. Hatfield as my doctor—he’s a professional; I’ve gotten to know him over the years. He’s caring, and I trust him. I think he is one of the best. I highly recommend him; He’s a Godsend. I consider him a great friend.”

Jason Hatfield, DO | The Orthopaedic Center | Athens, ALDr. Jason Hatfield specializes in sports medicine care, non-surgical orthopaedics, and wound care. Dr. Hatfield has been practicing medicine since 2001.

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Diane Miles – Patient Story

“I was extremely pleased with the results of my treatment plan…I am very grateful for Dr. Carter and the rest of his team at TOC.” — Diane Miles

Diane was struggling to fully recover from a back injury due to an unexpected fall.

Diane, a retired teacher, would spend many hours up on her feet while teaching, and she also used this time to rack up her steps, staying active and living a healthier life. Her goal was to get as many steps into her day as possible.

One day while teaching, as she went sit down in her chair, the chair was moved from underneath her, resulting in her tumbling to the hard concrete floor. Unfortunately, this fall caused Diane to have some severe pain and discomfort in her lower back.

After some time, Diane was still suffering with her lower back pain.  She mentioned this to her primary doctor who then referred her to Dr. Carter, an Interventional Spine doctor at The Orthopaedic Center.

At her visit with Dr. Carter, she was very happy with how well he and his team listened to her concerns about her lower back pain. Diane expressed that she was pleased with how thorough Dr. Carter was at diagnosing her injury. With some trial and error and different treatment options, Dr. Carter was able to find a successful treatment plan that brought her relief.

“Overall, I was extremely pleased with the results of my treatment plan. I am thrilled to be able to still get out and get my steps in throughout the day, and with the help from Dr. Carter I now know how to manage my back pain if I was to stumble or fall. I am very grateful for Dr. Carter and the rest of his team at TOC.”

Brian R. Carter, M.D.

Dr. Brian Carter is an Interventional Spine physician, specializing in non-surgical treatment of musculoskeletal disorders including neck and back pain, sciatica, disc herniation, and shoulder and knee pain.

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Susan Looney – Patient Story

“I had the best experience. That’s why I came back for my second spinal fusion surgery.” — Susan Looney

Susan is no stranger to back pain. She has successfully undergone two spinal fusion surgeries. This is her story.

If you ask Susan Looney what she likes to do, she will tell you how much she enjoys singing and traveling. With 13 cruises under her belt, she has no plans of slowing down any time soon.

However, when her chronic lower back pain became so bad that just trying to get out of bed would bring her to tears, she knew something wasn’t right.

“Going to work was almost impossible,” she says. “My quality of life had faded, to the extent that I was unable to enjoy my most favorite hobbies, like singing in the band I am a part of, and going on cruises with my husband.”

Fortunately, Susan’s life changed for the better when a colleague referred her to Dr. Scholl, a well-known and respected spine surgeon at The Orthopaedic Center.

At their first meeting, Susan felt an instant connection with Dr. Scholl — one of the factors she credits with the success of her healthcare journey.

“Everything was explained to me,” she says. “From start to end, (Dr. Scholl) shared the pros and cons of surgery, what to expect, and what would be expected of me. The first visit is one of the most important.”

Bolstered by Dr. Scholl’s team, Susan sailed smoothly through both of her surgeries.

“The surgeries went almost flawlessly,” says Susan. “Shortly after the surgeries, I began physical therapy and increasingly improved from there.”

“Dr. Scholl and his team as a whole were excellent. They worked together and communicated with me the whole time. The staff was so easy and pleasant. They are real down-to-earth people. I trust them. I had the best experience,” says Susan. “That’s why I came back for my second spinal fusion surgery.”

Following her two successful lumbar fusion surgeries, Susan would wholeheartedly recommend Dr. Scholl to anyone suffering with debilitating back pain.

“I am no longer wrestling to complete day-to-day activities,” says Susan. My quality of life is infinitely better, and I am ready to book a cruise!”

“I owe all of this to Dr. Scholl and this team.”

Brian M. Scholl, M.D. Dr. Scholl treats cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal disorders ranging from simple pinched nerves to complex conditions like scoliosis.

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Gloria Bloodworth – Patient Story

Patient stories: Gloria B. - Dr. Blake Boyett patient | The Orthopaedic Center | Athens, AL
“Dr. Boyett and his team were so kind. They really took the time to listen to my concerns about my injury.”

I was living just my normal everyday life until I took an unfortunate stumble. As a result of my fall, I injured my neck, back and hip. This injury resulted in me having excruciating neck and back pain, along with pain in my hip.

After my accident, I scheduled an appointment at The Orthopaedic Center to see Dr. Blake Boyett, TOC’s spine surgeon in Athens, AL. My visit at TOC was wonderful! Dr. Boyett and his team were so kind. They really took the time to listen to my concerns about my injury.

I was in such relief when Dr. Blake was able to determine what was needed for my treatment plan to help me with my pain. He ended up performing a cervical spinal surgery. After the surgery and quickly going into recovery, I was very impressed with the results. Throughout my treatment with TOC, Dr. Blake took such great care of me. He really helped me get back to my everyday life. 

I am so thankful for TOC and their wonderful staff and doctors. The have been so kind, and it is nice to have a group of doctors who truly listen and help you understand the cause of your pain and to treat it as well. My tip to anyone who may suffer with neck or back pain would be to call TOC and schedule an appointment!

Blake Boyett, DO | The Orthopaedic Center | Athens, ALDr. Blake Boyett is an orthopaedic spine surgeon. He has an interest in orthopaedic and spine surgery, but specifically in minimally-invasive surgery and sports related spine injuries.

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Amanda Harris – Patient Story

“[Dr. Rodriguez-Feo], along with the rest of the staff at TOC are awesome and I am so thankful for all that they have done for me.” — Amanda Harris

I injured my neck due to an unexpected accident at work.  This was an injury I that I never imagined would happen. I work in child care, and one day a toddler simply bumped my elbow. This ended up causing a pain that shot straight through my arm and up to my neck. I also experienced severe weakness and difficulty controlling my hands and gait.

On the day of my injury, my husband decided to call The Orthopaedic Center (TOC) to schedule an appointment to see a spine specialist. I was able to quickly schedule an appointment with Dr. Rodriguez-Feo for the very next day. When I arrived at TOC, I received nothing but exceptional care.

During my visit with Dr. Rodriguez-Feo, he explained that my injury could result in having surgery. Dr. Rodriguez-Feo ordered an MRI so that we could take a better look at my neck. I was able to have the MRI done as soon as I left his office, and before we could leave the parking lot, he called me with the results. He had me come back to his office to discuss finding out that I had central cord syndrome and that I would need surgery that day.

Although I was terrified about having surgery, Dr. Rodriguez-Feo kept me at ease by encouraging me to remain calm the whole time.

My recovery process was a breeze. I had no complications whatsoever. I had a lift restriction for a couple of weeks, but other than that, I did not have any problems. I cannot thank Dr. Rodriguez-Feo enough for what he has done for me. I honestly felt as if I was treated more like a friend. Whenever I am in need of an orthopaedic doctor,  Dr. Rodriguez-Feo is who I call. I will also refer anyone I know who struggles with back pain to Dr. Rodriguez-Feo. He, along with the rest of the staff at TOC, are awesome and I am so thankful for all that they have done for me.

John Rodriguez-Feo III, MD

Dr. Rodriguez-Feo is a fellowship-trained spine surgeon specializing in comprehensive spinal care, utilizing minimally-invasive and traditional spine surgery techniques to treat cervical, thoracic and lumbar disorders

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David Hood – Patient Story

Like many patients we hear from at The Orthopaedic Center (TOC), David is passionate about doing the things he loves. For David, that is playing the bass guitar — he is quite the musician! A bassist by profession, David has produced songs with the best of the best in the music industry, including Willie Nelson and Cher. He also has played bass on albums for Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin, Cat Stevens, Rod Stewart, and Sheryl Crow, to name a few. The list goes on and on of the famous singers who have collaborated with David.

But over a decade, back pain had become a way of life. In fact, David had strategically placed walking canes in each room of his house to help him walk. Over time the pain intensified and was debilitating, which made him immobile and left him feeling helpless with no relief. He knew he had to do something.

David’s doctor referred him to Dr. Cosgrove, TOC’s Pain Management and Interventional Spine specialist.  After reviewing David’s MRI, Dr. Cosgrove advised David that he was a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator. This stimulator is a device that is implanted and sends low levels of electricity directly into the spinal cord to relieve pain.

For David, the stimulator has been a game-changer. The canes have become a thing of the past, and he is back to enjoying playing bass in the recording studio.

The trusted team of pain management specialists at The Orthopaedic Center delivered a pain solution that has allowed David to return to the active lifestyle he loves most.

“I am the picture of a satisfied patient. I was in such bad shape. Overall I am doing so well! Dr. Cosgrove has turned things around for me.”

“I am the picture of a satisfied patient…Dr. Cosgrove has turned things around for me.” — TOC patient David Hood



Michael A. Cosgrove, M.D.

Dr. Cosgrove is an anesthesiologist who specializes in pain management. He specializes in the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of painful spine disorders. He also diagnoses and treats various other acute and chronic pain problems of the joints and extremities.

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Sarah Fox – Patient Story

Sarah F., Dr. Spruiell's patient | The Orthopaedic Center | Huntsville, AL
“I love Dr. Spruiell and his team. He is my cheerleader! Surely if he can help me find this much relief, he will for others too!” — Sarah Fox

Sarah is the picture of a full life. She’s 81 years old and works part-time in the tax preparation industry. She is very active in her church and likes to go to the gym with her husband. But in 2006 back pain had become a constant in her life. She saw Dr. Lincoln for conservative treatments and was able to get some relief for a while, but when the treatments no longer worked, Dr. Lincoln referred her to Dr. Spruiell, a well-known spine surgeon with TOC (The Orthopaedic Center).

Sarah was desperate for relief. After meeting Dr. Spruiell, Sarah felt an instant rapport with him, one of the factors she credits for the success of her healthcare journey. “He connects with his patients, and was my cheerleader; I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”

It was decided that surgery was the only recourse left. It was not an easy decision, but for Sarah it was the only one left. She had suffered for a long time with pain and could not live this way for the rest of her life.

In October 2019, Sarah underwent spinal fusion surgery. Seven months later, after recuperating and faithfully doing all the things that Dr. Spruiell asked, she is doing great. “I am now back to greeting church members and visitors at my church and getting around 75 hugs every Sunday.”

“I love Dr. Spruiell and his team. He is my cheerleader! Surely if he can help me find this much relief, he will for others, and that’s why I refer him to all my friends.”

Murray D. Spruiell, MD

Dr. Spruiell is an orthopaedic surgeon with additional fellowship training in spine surgery; he focuses his practice on all aspects of adult spinal surgery, including cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal disorders.

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Julie Andrzejewski – Patient Story

Patient stories: Julie A. (Dr. Lincoln spine patient) | TOC Huntsville, AL
“Dr. Lincoln is the best and most caring spine and neck doctor. He helped me get back to my active lifestyle.” — Julie Andrzejewski

From triathlons to long-distance running, Julie has always lived an active lifestyle. But being in government contracting, she sat at a desk all day. One day, while getting out of her car, Julie experienced excruciating pain in her lower back. Unable to walk, she had to go to the emergency room. Many questions ran through her mind: Who would help her? Would she be able to return to her active lifestyle?

She immediately called Dr. Howard Miller of TOC, who worked with Julie when she had knee issues, and he referred her to one of TOC’s spine specialists, Dr. Craig Lincoln. After meeting Julie, Dr. Lincoln diagnosed her with disc-related problems of the lower back.

When asked about her impression of Dr.  Lincoln, Julie noted that she was so pleased with the way that he listed to her and connected with her about her pain.  She said, “He was mindful of my active lifestyle, and was determined to find ways to get me back to a life that I could love.” 

Dr. Lincoln outlined a treatment plan of x-ray-guided spinal injections, exercises to strengthen her back, and suggested a standing-desk to help combat sitting all day. After Julie’s series of treatments, she found relief and was able to return to her active lifestyle.

What would Julie want others to know about Dr. Lincoln? Julie says, “He helped me. He is the best, caring spine and neck doctor. TOC is a great practice, and his team is attentive and unified. I have referred five people to him, and I will continue to.”

For those who are suffering like she was, Julie says, “Don’t give up; where there’s a will there’s a way, and Dr. Lincoln will be your biggest cheerleader.”

Craig E. Lincoln, M.D.

Dr. Lincoln specializes in non-surgical treatment of the spine and has received specialized training in cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal injections, as well as EMG and nerve conduction studies.

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We want our patients to know that you can feel safe when visiting a TOC clinic

Please read below so that you can be confident in our clinic procedure and additional safety measures.

In compliance with recent policy changes in counties that we serve, and to provide the safest possible environment for our patients, effective immediately, all patients and any guests who enter any TOC facilities will be required to wear a mask or face covering. In the event a patient does not have a mask, TOC will provide one. We appreciate your compliance with our mask policy. As always, TOC will continue to provide exceptional orthopaedic care to our current and future patients in the safest environment possible.

We look forward to taking care of you!