February 2013/March 2013 Magazine Stories

The Road to Recovery

Written by scott

In June 2007 a head-on collision rattled Lisa Bryan’s life. She was in physical pain and traumatized to the point that she could hardly enter vehicles. For her medical treatment Lisa turned to Gainesville-based Medical Injury Group (Medig), which focuses on treating patients involved in vehicle-related accidents.

 

“I was blown away by the excellent care I received,” Lisa said. “From the moment I walked through the door I was treated as family. The front office staff worked with my hectic schedule, and the doctor and therapists explained all of my injuries in a way I was able to understand.”

 

Lisa was so impressed by the staff that later in the year she joined the team. She began working in the front office in Gainesville and was later promoted to office manager. She recently became part of the corporate leadership team.

 

All in the Family

“These photos were taken during a family vacation in Italy,” said Founder and Medical Director Adrian Lewis, M.D., during a tour of the 5,000-square-foot Gainesville office. Featured in the pictures are fellow Medig team members—his wife, Sue, rehab director, and sons, Andrew, chief operating officer, and Matthew, who oversees image and creative design.

 

Adrian, who completed his family practice residency at the University of Florida more than 30 years ago, and Sue, a physical therapist with 37 years of experience in manual therapy, founded Medig in 2003, several years after they were involved in a serious automobile accident.

 

“We understand what it’s like to be injured—emotionally, physically, financially,” Adrian said. “After our accident, I became fascinated by the injury patterns in vehicle-related accidents. When we decided to start this company, we had no model to base it on. Now, 10 years later, we have treated 5,000 patients and have created our own model and customized software.”

 

One of a Kind  

In 2010, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, there were an estimated 5.4 million police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes, and 2.2 million people were injured. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration estimates that a vehicle-related injury occurs every 10 seconds and a crash occurs every five seconds.

 

“After an accident, if you call your family physician and tell them you were in an auto accident, 90 percent of the time they will say they don’t treat patients with vehicle-related injuries,” Adrian said. “Doctors often shy away from treating patients because of the complicated injuries and medical/ legal interface, from depositions or going to court to the very detailed notes required in legal cases. We understand and accept these components. It’s part of what we do.”

 

Spread throughout Medig’s four offices in Gainesville, Ocala and Jacksonville are two medical physicians, two physician assistants, seven physical therapists, three exercise therapists and 19 support staff members. “Our unified medical/physical therapist team, our understanding of the medical/legal interface and our caring and compassionate environment appeals to our patients,” Sue said. “Our patients give us a 97 percent satisfaction rate on exit interviews.”

 

A History of Caring

Adrian and Sue are natives of Cape Town, South Africa. There, Adrian’s father worked as a physician and editor of the “South African Medical Journal.” Adrian remembers the excitement as his father observed and wrote about the world’s first heart transplant in 1967 in Cape Town. His father, who was offered the position of medical director of the World Health Organization with the United Nations prior to his untimely death, was Adrian’s hero. Following in his legacy seemed like a natural choice.

 

Adrian and Sue met while in their respective programs at the University of Cape Town. After graduation, they married and soon set off around the world in search of a new home.

 

“We vehemently disagreed with the discriminatory apartheid laws, so we paid off our debt and bought a pop-up tent, two backpacks and two around-the-world airplane tickets,” Adrian said. “After many months and many stops, we ended up in Gainesville. I accepted a family practice residency position at the University of Florida, and we haven’t left Gainesville since.”

 

The Medig Touch

New patients receive comprehensive evaluations from a medical physician or physician assistant and a physical therapist. Once their treatment plan is decided they are seen for one hour twice a week for manual physical therapy and exercise therapy. After anywhere from one to three months, the patient is discharged and given instructions for a home exercise program. If surgery is needed their recovery time is extended.

 

“We provide personalized, individualized treatment plans,” Sue said. “We don’t have cookie-cutter therapy. We treat every patient according to their specific injuries.”

 

Patients are often initially frustrated and anxious as they navigate their life-altering incident. “Although complete recovery is rare, by the time the vast majority of our patients are discharged, they have improved significantly and have hope again,” Sue said. “Seeing this transformation is what gives us all the passion to do what we do.”

 

Service-Focused

In addition to expertise in treating vehicle-related injuries and a family like environment, Adrian said Medig’s signature differentiator is its culture of serving patients. “We are driven to treat people politely and create an atmosphere where all are welcome.”

 

For the Lewis family, treating patients during what can be a traumatic, painful and confusing time, is a calling. “We plan to spend the rest of our lives working together to serve those suffering from painful injuries following auto accidents and ensuring the best outcome possible for them.”

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