Patrick Kellam never thought he would become a surgeon, let alone an orthopedic surgeon, just like his father. But on July 21, he was side by side with his dad as they performed two surgeries together for the first time.
“Everyone always asked if I was going to do what my dad did,” said Patrick Kellam, MD, orthopedic trauma fellow in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. “And that was a quick and easy answer. ‘No, definitely not.’ He got up too early, was never home, and always got called. It seemed like a miserable job.”
Eventually, he was drawn to the world of orthopedics after a summer internship with an orthopedic device company. After completing medical school at the University of North Carolina and residency at the University of Utah, Patrick Kellam found his way to the Orthopedic Trauma Fellowship at UTHealth Houston, where his father just happened to be a renowned professor.
“It was one of the things I thought about long and hard, but the faculty here were, I thought, the best in the country and the atmosphere of learning here is second to none,” Patrick Kellam said. “So that was really what drove me and I think the longer you are in orthopedics, the more you realize what he [James Kellam] has done for the field and it’s been cool to kind of be able to go home and talk to him about things that we do.”
“It's been fun. It’s driven my wife crazy, listening to us every night when he comes home, ‘Well we did this, we did that.’ She’s like, ‘Oh, do you have to talk about that!’ but it’s been great,” said James Kellam.
James Kellam, MD, a professor and associate residency program director for the department, has been an orthopedic surgeon for over 40 years. He began practicing in Toronto, Canada, before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he worked for over 20 years. He was president of the Orthopedic Trauma Association in 1997-1998.
After a short retirement and move to Houston to be closer to his first grandchild, James Kellam was asked to come teach at UTHealth Houston by Andrew Burgess, MD, professor and vice chair of orthopedic surgery.
“This is probably the best orthopedic trauma fellowship in the country right now,” said James Kellam. “It has the biggest numbers, the highest volumes, and the teachers are phenomenal.”
Starting Aug. 1, Patrick Kellam will move on to do a yearlong total joint replacement fellowship at the University of Utah, where he will be doing total hip and knee replacements, as well as hip preservation.
“My goal is to get extra knowledge and expertise in periprosthetic fracture applications of total joints,” said Patrick Kellam. “I plan on being a trauma surgeon that does total joints, not a total joint surgeon and that does trauma. I have more of an interest in trauma and I think that there are some roles for total joint arthroplasty in trauma care.”
“He has impressed me as a surgeon,” said James Kellam. “He knows what he’s doing and as I’ve said to people, ‘after that, he could operate on me.’ Just to see someone who has gone through the training, has been a success and knows what he’s doing, it makes you pretty proud. I guess I did something right as a father.”
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