Motorcycle riding chef is cooking again

After a double leg fracture, Alberto Gazzola is cooking again, both on the track and in the kitchen. 
The owner of La Vecchia Italian Bistro loves to let loose on a motorcycle, pushing his limits, and speeds of 170 mph, on amateur road racing tracks around the West. Yet it was goofing around on a 100cc dirt bike that landed him in the ER.
On Christmas day of 2011, Alberto was riding dirt bikes with a friend in Sacramento. A miscalculated turn resulted in another rider T-boning Alberto and breaking his left leg in two places. In the ER, x-rays showed a tibia/fibula spiral fracture. His riding friend, who worked in healthcare in Reno, recommended he see orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Richard Hayes of Great Basin Orthopaedics to assess and treat the injury.
While Alberto’s injury was the result of an accident, it is not always necessary to visit the emergency room. “The ER stay can be a very long, frustrating, and unproductive experience for those without life threatening or life endangering injuries,” explains Dr. Hayes. “For injuries like the one sustained by Alberto, calling our office almost always yields a scheduled appointment in one to two days.”
Alberto has never been a fan of the doctor’s office and tends to be cynical about the care he will receive. Upon meeting Dr. Hayes he had a novel reaction. “I dread going to the doctor because they don’t seem to care,” Alberto explains, “Dr. Hayes is different. You don’t feel like he’s watching the clock when he’s with you.”          
Several days after that first visit, Dr. Hayes operated on Alberto’s leg, installing a rod and multiple screws. When Alberto awoke from surgery, Dr. Hayes was there to check on him–something he wasn’t expecting. When Alberto returned to the hospital a few days later after spiking a fever, Dr. Hayes was there to check on him.
While this approach to patient is typical for Dr. Hayes, it made an impact on Alberto. “I appreciated being able to talk to my doctor after the surgery. I called him a few times with questions and he always made time for me.”
Alberto’s leg has healed well. Seven months after his accident he was back on the motorcycle and even did a few motorcycle track racing days in 2012, although riding a little more cautiously. He has been working out at the gym and running. A year after surgery, he returned to Dr. Hayes to remove the screws that were no longer necessary. He is feeling good and his flexibility and strength continue to improve.
Alberto’s case is somewhat emblematic of Great Basin Orthopaedics and what has kept the independent practice busy since opening its doors. “Most of our patients come through our door just like Alberto did, through the referral of a friend or family member,” says Dr. Hayes. “I love his restaurant, but I care for all of my patients the same way. I just want to help people get back to the life they were living before they developed the problem that brought them to me.”
While he doesn’t recommend breaking a leg, Alberto enthusiastically recommends his surgeon. “I got the best of both worlds with Dr. Hayes,” says Alberto. “He is an excellent surgeon and a truly caring person. That’s what you want when you have to go to the doctor.”
Dr. Richard Hayes is a fellowship-trained, Board Certified orthopaedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle disorders. He are his partners at Great Basin Orthopaedics in Reno, Nevada.