Orthopedic surgeon joins Oswego Hospital in the middle of the pandemic. He discusses first few months of his tenure
By Chris Motola
Q: Can you describe your role at Oswego Health?
A: I’m an orthopedic surgeon with a subspecialty in sports medicine; sports surgeries as well was upper extremities. I came to New York from Canada, first in Auburn, where I used to work. I knew a few people here who connected me with Oswego Health. I saw this place and thought it would be the best fit for me.
Q: Do your patients tend to fit any particular profile?
A: I see all kinds of patients. Some of the sports surgeries, like rotator cuff surgeries, are age 50-plus patients, but most of the sports surgeries are young people, athletes. But you can still see sports injuries in elderly people. So I see young kids, adults and elderly people, too. My practice is general orthopedics, so I see traumas and fractures.
Q: Have patients been reluctant to seek treatment for structural issues during the pandemic?
A: It’s funny. I started here in May, right in the middle of the pandemic. Whenever you start somewhere, you start with less patients and as you get used to the position and the community knows more about you, you start to see more patients. My clinic actually filled up pretty fast. I think I’m seeing a good number of people. Is there room for improvement? Sure. But I’m pretty satisfied.
Q: What’s it like joining a hospital at a time when their own procedures are rapidly changing and adapting?
A: I would say it’s a new normal. We do all the recommended precautions. We suspended elective procedures until we were told it was safe to do them. In June, we reopened for elective procedures. All patients receiving elective procedures have to do COVID-19 testing two days before the surgery. In terms of surgery, there’s a little bit of a delay regarding who should be in the room during certain procedures like intubation. It takes maybe an extra half hour, 45 minutes.
Q: If patients are concerned about coming to a hospital, what orthopedic conditions would you say they absolutely should not wait on to see a doctor?
A: Acute injuries like fractures. Even some non-fractures. But you don’t want to wait on fractures. Knee and shoulder injuries where the patient can’t move the joint. At this point, I don’ think there’s much of a reason to wait. We’re taking all the needed precautions. Any problem, we can handle it. If something isn’t getting better in a few days, see a doctor. If it’s a fracture, don’t wait at all.
Q: What conditions have you seen the most of so far?
A: The traumas and fractures here are quite complex. In terms of sports injuries, I’ve seen almost everything. I started per diem in February, so I was coming once or twice a month before I started full time in May. I’ve done meniscus repair, ACL reconstruction, bicep repair, rotator cuff surgeries, shoulder surgeries. It’s been a good spectrum, a little bit of everything.
Q: How has your experience in the U.S. differed from your experience in Canada, both in terms of patient base and medical system?
A: Canada has a very different healthcare system. It’s more government-controlled. Waiting periods in Canada can be huge if a patient needs to see a specialist, at least three or four months. Here that’s not really a problem. The other side of that is in Canada, patients don’t have to worry about paying out of pocket or insurance. We sometimes have to figure out how a patient is paying if they don’t have insurance. Oswego Health has a good program for financial assistance who will work with patients. So it’s pretty reasonable and quick care here as opposed to Canada.
Q: Are you working out of Oswego Hospital or do you move around the system?
A: Our orthopedic clinic is in the Fulton campus, but we do surgery up in the hospital in Oswego.
Q: What are you able to do at the Fulton clinic?
A: We see patients and do follow-ups. We can do most injections here, including complex ones done with ultrasound. We can drain abscesses and treat wounds. Any braces or splints can be done here. Stuff like that, we can do it here.
Name: Kamaljeet Singh Banga, M.D.
Position: Orthopedic surgeon at Oswego Health; clinical assistant and professor of orthopedic surgery at Upstate Medical University; formerly a sports orthopedic surgeon at Auburn Community Hospital
Hometown: Chandigarh, India
Education: Punjab University, Chandigarh, India; McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada; fellowship in orthopedic surgery-upper extremity and sport, McMaster University
Affiliation: Oswego Health; Syracuse VA
Organizations: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons; Canadian Orthopedic Association; European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscope
Family: Wife, two children (16 and 6 years-old)
Hobbies: Motorcycling, badminton, golf, ATV
In the News
Orthopedic surgeon Kamaljeet Singh Banga recently joined the Center for Orthopedic Care team at Oswego Hospital, where practices with orthopedic surgeons John Ayres and Michael Diaz. Banga has been practicing orthopedic care for the past 18 years, with his most recent position being at Auburn Community Hospital. “I chose to work for Oswego Health not only because of their reputation and the level of service provided, but because of this community,” said Banga. “Specializing in sport injuries naturally draws me to want to care for patients within communities that have robust athletic programs not only at the collegiate level but any level. I just like having the opportunity to make a difference here in Oswego County.”