By Sondra Barr
Justin Michael Kane, MD, has always been drawn toward helping people. A renowned board certified foot and ankle surgeon, as a young boy he envisioned himself as a doctor, saving lives. He’s doing just that at the Orthopedic Institute of North Texas, a singular medical practice that he created to ensure exceptional patient care is the priority.
Dr. Kane’s desire to help those in need was cemented after completing his undergraduate degree at the highly regarded engineering college Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Rather than go directly into medical school, he moved to Arizona to take care of his widowed grandmother. In addition to keeping an eye on her, he was working as an emergency room tech. It was in the ER where he witnessed a life-changing scene unfold that served as the catalyst for his lifetime pursuit of excellence in orthopedic surgery.
“An older woman came in with a dislocated hip. It was very much like out of a tv show,” explains Dr. Kane. “They called the orthopedic surgeon. It’s late at night and he comes striding in. He’s in his scrubs and has his beeper on. He sees the lady and literally jumps on her bed, straddles her, grabs her leg and pops her hip back in. Instantaneously, she was better. I had never seen anything like that before. At that moment, I knew I wanted to do that.”
“To be able to give someone instant relief and make them better was the quintessential definition to me of doctoring. There’s a problem, you fix it right then, and the patient is immediately better,” says Dr. Kane. “I didn’t know what kind of orthopedic surgeon, but I wanted to do surgery clearly. I wanted to make people feel better like I saw that doctor in Arizona do.”
With his board exams about to expire, he persuaded his grandmother to pack up and move back east. There, he was able to keep an eye on her while attending medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he worked alongside some of the most influential orthopedic surgeons in the country.
Dr. Kane went on to complete an internship at Temple University Hospital before returning to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to finish his orthopedic surgery residency with the world class surgeons at the most highly sought-after program with The Rothman Institute. The next step was completing a fellowship in foot and ankle surgery at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.
“I had a wonderful mentor who was a foot and ankle surgeon,” explains Dr. Kane of his decision to specialize in that area. “People always think feet are stinky or you’re doing toenails, but this doctor really brought home a lot of the engineering principles that go into what I learned in college.”
Dr. Kane is fascinated by the foot’s adherence to the same principles as ancient Roman architecture that has remained standing for thousands of years without mortar.
“The foot is built in the same exact way. In the mid foot, there’s a structure called the Roman arch, where one of the bones is shaped like a wedge and the top of the arch is called a keystone. The keystone is a wedge shaped stone that holds the entire thing together.”
In the same vein, Dr. Kane attributes strong mentorship from exceptional surgeons as a keystone to his success. And, as it turns out, when Dr. Kane arrived in Texas to complete his fellowship, it was one of his mentors that he joined at Orthopedic Associates of Dallas, a Baylor group.
“I was an associate professor with Texas A&M University. I was working for Baylor. I was training residents, training fellows,” says Dr. Kane, who found himself at a crossroads as his contract with Baylor was expiring.
“The days of being a big hospital downtown and having people drive in to see you from all over is not what people want any more. People want to be able to get their subspecialty, fellowship-trained care from experts in their particular field in their backyard,” says Dr. Kane.
Knowing there was a better, more holistic way of providing care to the community, he set out to create a practice that does just that.
Through hard work and perseverance, along with the guidance of a lawyer, key community stalwarts, and his office manager, Dr. Kane started the Orthopedic Institute of North Texas (OINT).
“If you know what you want to do and you can stay laser focused on the goal and what you’re trying to achieve, anything is possible,” exclaims Dr. Kane.
He’s built the preferred full-service orthopedic surgery practice in Texas with the flagship office in Frisco and a new location in Flower Mound will be open this summer. He’s done so by adhering to the values outlined in the OINT acronym:
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE: We deliver outstanding clinical and operational performance in everything we do.
INTEGRITY: We treat each other and our patients honorably, truthfully, and respectfully.
NEIGHBORLY ATTITUDE: We take an active role in supporting our local communities, our neighborly attitude transcends throughout the communities we serve.
TEAMWORK: We work collaboratively to ensure great patient experiences and outcomes.
“I just want to help people. That is the philosophy that I’ve instilled in my younger doctors,” says Dr. Kane, who’s intricately involved in not only taking care of patients. “I run this practice. I’m involved in every interview and every hiring decision. I sit in on every staff meeting because I want the team to know that I’m invested in them as a staff and that my expectation of them is that we, as a group, are invested in the patients.”
Dr. Kane handpicked the three exceptional doctors on his staff, including hip and knee orthopedic surgeon Florian Dibra, MD; hand, wrist, shoulder, and elbow orthopedic surgeon Vikas Patel, MD; and foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon Leroy Butler, DO.
“We are partners. There’s no other practice I know in this area where you care about your partners’ success. To make them successful means that you’re successful because you’re doing your job of taking care of people,” says Dr. Kane.
From minimally invasive bunion surgery that allows patients to walk out of the hospital the same day to 3D printing for non-reconstructable issues with the feet and ankles that eliminates amputation, the OINT team utilizes cutting edge technology for exception outcomes that eliminate pain and save lives.
“I’m a foot and ankle surgeon and I save people’s lives. The stakes are very high at what we do,” points out Dr. Kane. “If there’s a complication with limb salvage, the patient could potentially die.”
About a third of people who have their legs cut off from a diabetes-related complication will be dead in three years and more than 50% of diabetics who have their legs cut off will be dead in five years, so avoiding amputation is paramount.
With patient care always top of mind, Dr. Kane provides every patient his personal cell phone number. “What sense does it make for the patient to have to jump through hoops to get a hold of their doctor, but equally what sense does it make for the doctor to have to talk to three or four people before they talk to their patient.”
The welcoming OINT environment encourages communication and trust between doctors, staff, and patients. They speak in terms that patients understand. “It’s a very ancient sacred bond that a patient and a doctor have,” says Dr. Kane, who makes it a priority to sit down with every patient and discuss the steps of their medical treatment.
This laser focus on patient care extends to Dr. Kane’s philanthropic work. Prior to COVID, he made regular trips to perform surgery in Vietnam and the Dominican Republic for those less fortunate. He’s also applied to travel to the Ukraine to perform surgery on war victims. His reasoning is simple: “I’ll do everything I can to help as many people as I can and give back in places where patients can wait weeks, sometimes months to get care.”
While a lot of his efforts are devoted to making sure the community gets the care it needs, Dr. Kane and his wife enjoy their life together in Texas. He’s also contemplating training for the New York City Marathon and makes staying active a priority.
“You can’t take care of patients if you’re not taking care of yourself,” he says. “You have to be a good steward of what medicine embodies and you have to be a good role model. How can I go into a patient’s room and approach a conversation about body mass index if I myself am not physically fit?”
To learn more about the Dr. Kane and his exceptional team, visit oint.org.
Locations in Farmers Branch and Flower Mound.