Frost in the Desert
LAOH Fellow Nathan Frost, M.D., takes the skills he gained to our men and women of the military.
by Taylor Knowles, LAOH Intern
A Talented Young Doctor in a Respected Graduate Education Program
Through its one-year fellowship program, Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital (LAOH) has seen many talented young doctors come and go over the years. These doctors leave LAOH having gained valuable knowledge and skills in pediatric orthopaedics, which they are able to use as they build their practices. Although these doctors are only with LAOH for a short time, they often leave a lasting impression upon LAOH patients and staff alike.
One former fellow who continues to leave his mark, not just here in Los Angeles but across the world, is Dr. Nathan Frost. Frost came to LAOH after completing medical school as a participant in the U.S. Army Health Professions Scholarship program. This meant that upon completing his fellowship, he would go on to serve a four-year active duty commitment with the Army Medical Corps.
A Commitment to Our Country
The able young physician began this commitment by serving as the pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC) in Tacoma, Washington. This placed him in charge of orthopaedic care for members of the Armed Forces and their families across much of the western half of the country. Although he enjoyed the new challenges that came with overseeing the care of these service men and women and their families, Frost couldn’t help but miss the opportunities to provide specialized care to children that he had at LAOH.
Describing the differences between LAOH and his new practice in Washington, Frost notes that he also had to become accustomed to not having resources such as LAOH’s President and CEO and Medical Director Anthony A. Scaduto, M.D., and the rest of LAOH's highly experienced surgeons, at his side for guidance. “I’m sure they will all confirm that I sent numerous emails seeking their advice,” he says. "And while it’s not the same as being there, it was of enormous benefit in establishing my practice that they were available for electronic consultations.”
Serving Our Combat Troops in Afghanistan
Currently completing a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan as part of his commitment to the military, Frost serves as the only orthopaedic surgeon at his base and consultant to numerous smaller bases nearby. Things have been pretty quiet for the majority of his stay, which is fine with him. He points out that, "a quiet hospital means our Marines are safe.”
According to Frost, one of the things that shocked him most when he arrived in Afghanistan was the intense desert heat that met him when he stepped off the plane. “Not only is it 120 degrees,” he describes, “but there is a steady 20-mile-an-hour wind that makes you feel like you are standing in front of a hair dryer.” Fortunately, the base at which he is stationed is equipped with air-conditioning, as well as the Wi-Fi internet that has eased the strain of being so far from his wife and their two children. Being away from his family has been the most difficult part about being deployed overseas, Frost says.
Looking Forward to Returning Home, and a Future Helping Children
In addition to being reunited with his family upon completion of his duties in Afghanistan and enjoying pleasures as simple as feeling grass beneath his feet, Frost also looks forward to shifting his focus back to pediatric orthopaedics at Washington's MAMC. “Being in a position where I don't regularly use my pediatric training has helped me realize that my heart really lies in taking care of kids,” he says, reflecting on his current position in Afghanistan.
He looks back fondly on his time in Los Angeles, saying, “It was a wonderful experience to work with such a great group of people at an institution with such an outstanding purpose.” Here at LAOH, we are proud to have had the opportunity to work with this dedicated and capable young surgeon and provide him with some of the skills and training that he is now using to make a difference for our country and the world.
The safety and well-being of American troops in Afghanistan is in the thoughts of everyone at LAOH. We wish Dr. Frost and all our dedicated service members, the very best and, most importantly, a safe return to the U.S.!