When 68-year-old Eves Tall Chief of Sunnyvale came to Sutter Health-affiliated Palo Alto Medical Foundation for help, his shoulder was so unstable that it would dislocate when he simply reached out to pet his dog. The problem stemmed from years of shoulder injuries during his career as a race-car driver—plus wear and tear from his newest and greatest passion: hang gliding.
Although many doctors had advised Tall Chief to quit hang gliding, the man who holds the world's record for hang-gliding flights in Yosemite would not hear of it. "Hang gliding, to me, is not a sport or hobby. It's a way of life," he says.
Tall Chief found an advocate in PAMF orthopedic surgeon Kevin Murray, M.D. "The only possibility for him to get back to what he wanted to do—including hang gliding—was to surgically repair his shoulder in a way that would give him the stability he needed," Dr. Murray says.
After surgeries to repair and reconstruct the badly damaged shoulder, PAMF brought in a team of rehabilitation therapists who set up a program to get Tall Chief healed to the point where he could again get airborne. During his rehabilitation time, the orthopedics team closely monitored Tall Chief's progress, fine-tuning his physical therapy to maximize his recovery.
Today Tall Chief estimates his shoulder is working at 97 percent of full capacity. "They did everything they could possibly do to repair my shoulder," he says. "The care I got from Sutter Health and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation is world-class."