Robert A. Hymes, MD, is board-certified in orthopaedic surgery. He is a member of the Inova Trauma Center team on Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, the only Level 1 Trauma Center in Northern Virgina. He specializes in the management of fractures, nounions/malunions, pelvis and acetabular fractures/injuries and bone infections.
For Robert A. Hymes, MD, orthopedic trauma surgeon at Inova, the highlight of his day is seeing a patient that he treated for a traumatic injury — whether from a car crash, industrial incident or other debilitating accident — on the mend.
“In medical school I developed an interest in orthopedic surgery and I gravitated toward traumatologists,” says Dr. Hymes, who is Chief of Orthopaedic Trauma, and Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at VCU School of Medicine. “They were fun to be around, but most importantly, they helped those who were most critically injured. To be able to see someone arrive in that state and three months later walk out of the office happy … that’s a great feeling.”
Extreme situations often create strong bonds, a phenomenon Dr. Hymes sees both in his work with colleagues, and with residents and medical students. A belief in the importance of these connections is why he recruits patients for Inova’s Trauma Survivors Network that puts current patients in touch with patients who have experienced similar trauma. “Patients who join our Trauma Survivors Network become resources for other patients,” he says. “I know that patient bond can be very helpful, and if they even have 30 minutes to talk to someone who was in a similar situation, that goes a long way.”
Seeing close relationships form is particularly humbling for Dr. Hymes because he recognizes that the circumstances that bring patients to his care are never desirable. “They have to put their trust in me, so I feel an obligation to follow through on that trust,” he explains.
During a typical workday, Dr. Hymes reviews patients in the Trauma Center at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus (IFMC) with his team, performs surgery, instructs residents and medical students, and goes on rounds to see patients who have recently undergone surgery. In addition, he leads the clinical research team for the department.
Learning to communicate with patients over his almost two decades of experience as an orthopedic trauma surgeon has been key, he believes, to improving the recovery process. “A well-informed patient is better off than an uninformed patient,” he states. “Someone who realizes and understands what’s in store for them for makes for a better functional outcome.”
When he is not saving and healing lives, Dr. Hymes enjoys spending time with his wife, three daughters and their rescue dog in Falls Church, a short commute from IFMC. You can also find him on the golf course, or relaxing with friends and enjoying many of the cultural amenities found in the Washington, DC, metro area.
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Specialty Trauma Care
Learn about trauma services at Inova.