Brothers Matthew (L) and Jeremy (R) Kohlhepp, with their dad, Rob.
When a medical team helps your child stay active following a serious orthopaedic injury, and that child’s sibling needs orthopaedic care years later, you go back to the team who delivered. That’s how brothers Matthew and Jeremy Kohlhepp both found themselves experiencing care at Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital (LAOH).
Matthew, 14, has been a patient at LAOH for a decade, since nearly severing his leg in a lawn-mowing accident at age three. William L. Oppenheim, M.D., professor and emeritus chief of pediatric orthopaedics and director of the UCLA / Orthopaedic Hospital Center for Cerebral Palsy, was one of the five surgeons who operated on him that first day. Oppenheim promised the family he “would be with them as long as Matthew needed care.” He remains Matthew’s physician today, and credits “the family’s unwavering spirit, and Matthew’s unsurpassed grit and courage,” as instrumental in Matthew’s successful recovery from the devastating accident.
Jeremy, 15, began his treatment more recently, when he tore the ACL in his left knee while landing a jump during a basketball game. “I know I’m in good hands,” he says about his physician, Richard E. Bowen, M.D., FAAOS, director of sports medicine services at LAOH. Prior to his visit with Bowen, the dedicated young athlete had heard that this surgery required a year away from sports, so he welcomed the prognosis that he would recuperate in only about six months – providing he conscientiously did his part in the care regimen.
Taking responsibility for their own health is something the brothers take seriously, perhaps in part because their dad, Rob, a paramedic, stresses this proactive approach. “When your child says to you, ‘Hey, I want to be the normal kid that plays outside,’ you have to reply, ‘Okay, we are going to get you to that point, but you have to help us by working hard. Do you do your exercises? Are you diligent about the self-care?’ As a parent, you want to shower your kids with love – and that’s not always about presents and ice cream.”
Therapeutic support and the drive to succeed keep Matthew active physically, socially and academically. He swims, has earned a slot three times on his school’s All-Star baseball team, and has served as class student body president. For his part, Jeremy is again pursuing his dream of becoming an elite “Triple Threat” athlete at his high school – participating in three sports per school year for four years.
Rob marvels, “LAOH takes you in and treats you not just as a patient but like a family member. What an amazing thing that both boys are being treated by the very best, from the same place!”