Every day, Dr. Stefan Prada walks into Laser Spine Institute prepared to help patients get their lives back. He starts his day meeting with patients to review their MRI or CT scans, discuss their surgical order and answer any questions they may have. Then he spends a few hours in surgery.
“I do two to four surgeries per day and then I call patients who had surgery the day before,” he said. “Many don’t recall much from the day before, so I discuss their procedure.”
That’s Dr. Prada’s day-to-day life now. What many people don’t know is that Dr. Prada is a veteran. He served in the Navy for 10 years. He was accepted into the Navy on a scholarship for medicine, serving six years of inactive duty.
Dr. Prada’s affinity for orthopedics developed when he was in medical school.
“When you look at the surgery aspect – it worked with my belief system. I can diagnose and fix,” he shared. “Orthopedics is similar to human carpentry – you fix broken bones with power tools.”
During his service to the U.S. Navy, he had medical rotations in Bethesda, Md.; Oakland, Calif. and San Diego. After medical school, Dr. Prada served four years of active duty in the Navy. Two of those years were spent serving with the Marines, working with a helicopter rescue team as the in-house surgeon.
Once he was discharged, he opted to become a civilian. But he is acutely aware of the lessons he learned during his service.
“The biggest thing was learning an appreciation for sacrifice,” he said. “You can’t really comprehend it unless you’ve been there and seen it. Most people have no concept of what soldiers do.”
Dr. Prada’s experiences with the Navy have enabled him to connect with Laser Spine Institute’s military patients on another level.
“There’s a link with patients who have served or are serving,” he said. “It evokes a sense of camaraderie. We can talk about things people wouldn’t understand.”
Laser Spine Institute would like to thank all those who have served or are currently serving in the military. We are grateful for the sacrifice you and your families have made. Thank you.