Thirty years ago in the course of my work, I saw a video prepared by patients of a bankrupt podiatry clinic graphically detailing the results of failed foot surgeries performed at that clinic. I was horrified, and I vowed that no one would ever bring a scalpel anywhere near MY feet. Fifteen years later, a colleague mentioned at lunch that if anyone ever needed a foot surgeon, she knew a miracle-worker: Martin O’Malley. It seemed that her father had been crippled by an earlier surgery, but someone had convinced him to consult with Dr. O’Malley, and the result was that he was now walking painlessly and wanted the world to know about Dr. O’Malley’s magic. My feet were fine, but I guess it was because of that terrible video that Dr. O’Malley’s name was emblazoned in my memory. And then a couple of years ago I actually started having trouble with one of my feet. Memories of that video kept me from consulting a specialist for months. When walking became very painful, I finally went to a doctor looking for a benign “cure”—anything short of surgery. He told me that I needed surgery, so I left and never came back. And so it went—I saw a total of nine doctors and podiatrists and was advised to try physical therapy, cortisone shots, manipulation, icing, medication, new shoes, orthotics, etc., etc. And each one ultimately came to the conclusion that I needed surgery, at which point I would limp into someone else’s office, try their non-surgical suggestions, and depart forever when surgery was suggested. And the pain only got worse, and my walking was seriously curtailed. Only when friends finally told me to get serious about this-- that I was too young to be lame and that if every specialist I had consulted said I needed surgery, well then maybe I DID--did I seriously consider surgery. And once I was serious about it, there was only one person to call: Dr. O’Malley. Dr. O’Malley explained that I needed an MP fusion, which would leave my big toe totally stiff but pain-free, and I signed on immediately. He performed the surgery a few weeks later at HSS, which is such a reassuringly civilized place to have surgery—not only is it immaculate, but every last person I had anything to do with there was professional and courteous. Within a week I had less pain from that foot than I’d had in at least a year, and now five months later I am a new person, walking as much as I want to with total abandon. There is just no surpassing the quality of care from Dr. O’Malley and the Hospital for Special Surgery.