Healing Hands Award: Michael Alapatt, MD

Barry Lenson loves his morning routine. He comes downstairs and makes coffee for his wife, Fran Taber, and carries the cups back upstairs for them to enjoy before work. All that changed when he woke up with hip pain that progressively got worse until the 70-year-old could no longer maneuver crutches, the stairs and carrying coffee.

Dr-Alapatt.jpg“When something is wrong, I try to give it time,” Lenson, a Millburn resident, said. “Usually, it gets a little bit better every day.” Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for Lenson who suffered six months of excruciating hip pain and a misdiagnosis elsewhere. Then he found Michael Alapatt, MD. Shortly after meeting him in the fall of 2019, Lenson had back surgery at Morristown Medical Center.

“I was impressed with Dr. Alapatt because he spent time with me,” Lenson said. “It wasn’t the usual six minutes in and out that you find in some practices. He didn’t take my word on what was wrong. He performed an MRI of my lower spine and gave me a correct diagnosis. He had the knowledge and oversight to realize the problem may be coming from somewhere else.”

It turns out that Lenson had a synovial cyst on his lower spine. Dr. Alapatt spent time explaining what to expect during surgery and what the recovery process would look like.

From the moment he walked into the hospital, Lenson saw a level of attentiveness from everyone that was extraordinary to him. After surgery, he was awake in his hospital bed in the middle of the night, and a nurse peeked in to ask if he was having trouble sleeping. “I happened to be relaxed and very happy,” Lenson said. “But the fact that she was anticipating my every need made me feel so well cared for.” The nurses came and went throughout his recovery. Their attention, consideration and kindness are what Lenson remembers.

“I wanted to be home as soon as possible after I started to feel better,” Lenson said. “The nurses were detail-oriented and were able to push the process along faster than I could have on my own.” Lenson and Taber were so impressed with their experience, especially Dr. Alapatt’s demeanor, knowledge and sense of calm, that they wanted to find a way to show their appreciation. They found the perfect way to honor their favorite physician: through a Healing Hands Award. They made a tribute gift of $1,000, which was matched by Taber’s employer, Bank of America. They were equally thankful for the hospital staff. “They were 100 percent professional and helpful, and I’m grateful,” Lenson said.

After returning home, he was happy to be back in his favorite routine and making coffee for his wife. Lenson could manage the stairs – without crutches – with two cups of coffee. “I feel like Dr. Alapatt gave me my life back,” Lenson said.
To honor one or more Morristown Medical Center team members with a Healing Hands Award, please visit our Healing Hands page.

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