The story of Western Orthopaedics began when Foster Matchett, MD moved to Denver in 1938 after completing his orthopaedic training at Massachusetts General Hospital, Philadelphia Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, and Temple University. He came to Denver and joined Drs. Atha Thomas and Charles Sevier in the Republic Building downtown. He was also appointed head of Orthopaedic Outpatient Service at the University of Colorado Medical Center.
Dr. Matchett left Orthopaedic practice in Denver briefly (1942-45) so that he could work as a medical officer during World War II, serving in the South Pacific and Korea. In addition to evaluating and treating American soldiers, Dr. Matchett developed relationships with the local residents. After some early scuffles, Dr. Matchett’s genuine compassion led to vast friendships.
Dr. Matchett’s returned to Denver in 1946 after his military service and opened an office at 1727 Gilpin Street with Dr. William Stanek.
Dr. Charles W. Brown joined Dr. Matchett in July of 1950. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of West Virginia in 1940, and went on to complete his medical degree at the University of Maryland, graduating in December of 1943. He did his surgical internship at West Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA and his orthopedic residency at Robert Packard Hospital, Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, PA.
During World War II, Dr. Brown served his country as a Captain in the Army. He was Chief of Orthopedic Service at the 4th General Hospital in Manilla, Philippine Islands and through the Active War Campaign in Okinawa.
After Dr. Stanek left the practice in 1952, Drs. Matchett and Brown moved to a brand new clinic at 1830 Williams Street (1955). The name of the practice was known as Matchett & Brown.
Denver was a growing metropolitan area with over 800,000 residents in the late 1950’s and only twenty-seven orthopaedic surgeons. Drs. Matchett and Brown worked hard to provide excellent service to their patients, establishing the "Western Philosophy" of patient care. They were also pioneers in contributing to the modern era of hip replacement surgery, inventing and developing the "Matchett-Brown" long-stemmed hip prosthesis. Previously the stem of metal hip-replacements that were short and often became loose, causing thigh pain and a high failure rate. Dr. Matchett and Brown’s innovative prosthesis was a more anatomically correct femoral neck and ball design, with a longer stem. This provided more stability to the femur, resulting in less post-operative pain, increased prosthetic longevity, and greater patient satisfaction. It is estimated that over 30,000 Matchett-Brown prostheses were implanted before newer prosthetic models were invented.
Western Orthopaedics began to take its current shape when Dr. Fred Teal joined the practice. After completing his Orthopaedic training in Denver and military service in 1969, Dr. Teal followed the Orthopaedic footsteps of his father. Dr. Fritz Teal, who was Chief Surgeon of the Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Drs. Matchett, Brown, and Teal continued to serve the community for several years, and in 1978 recruited James Holmes, MD to join the practice. Dr. Holmes had completed his residency in Colorado in 1974, worked in the orthopedic hospital at Oswestry England for a year and had served in the US Army. Western Orthopaedics, PC was officially born. Dr. Holmes eagerly began work in Denver, but also traveled throughout the Midwest with Dr. Brown as Team Physician for the University of Colorado football team. In 1980, western Kansas outreach clinics were established.
Dr. Holmes’ arrival marked the "changing of the guard" at Western Orthopaedics. In 1978, after over 45 years of Orthopaedic service, Dr. Matchett retired, followed by Dr. Brown in 1987.
Drs. Teal and Holmes set out to recruit new physicians to fill Dr. Matchett and Browns’ large shoes, bringing Drs. Ted Clarke and Tim Birney to the practice in 1987 and 1989, respectively. The four surgeons made the move to our office suite at 1601 East 19th Avenue in 1992, and thereafter were joined by Drs. Ted Parks (1994) and Stuart Kennedy (1998).
After five years of dedicated service, Dr. Kennedy set out for new adventures in 2003, traveling to Australia with his Aussie wife Jodie and two children to start a "Yankee Practice Down Under". In December of 2004 Dr. Ted Clarke accepted the position of Chairman and CEO for COPIC, Colorado’s largest medical insurance company for physicians. He currently holds an emeritus position at Western Orthopaedics. Our roster continued to expand with the arrivals of Dr. Armodios Hatzidakis (2003), Dr. Gary Shemesh (2004), Dr. John Gargaro (2004), Dr. Raj Bazaz in 2004, and Dr. Kevin Nagamani who arrived in 2006.
In October of 2006 we were sad to say goodbye to Dr. Teal. He retired after 37 years of incredible care and service. Following Dr. Teal's retirement was the departure of Dr. Gargaro in December of 2007. After 3 years with Western, Dr. Gargaro took a position at Kaiser Permanente to practice medicine.
Things continued to move and shake here at Western Orthopaedics. We welcomed Dr. Brian White, who arrived in September, 2008. Dr. White has become actively involved in the development of new instrumentation for hip arthroscopy to improve the arthroscopic treatment of FAI (femoracetabular impingement).
We then welcomed Dr. Steve Traina in March 2009. Dr. Traina has been the team physician for the Denver Nuggets from 1986 - 2017. In April 2010 we were thrilled to add a hand specialist, Dr. Thomas Mordick. These two physicians alone bring an additional 40 years of experience to our group.
Another change was welcomed in September of 2009. A beautiful new location at 1830 Franklin Street, Suite #450 in Denver, Colorado. Our new office is actually just one block south of our previous building. And interestingly enough 1830 was the street number for our practice in 1955. Funny how sometimes things come full circle.
Western Orthopaedics continued to grow in 2015, adding Dr. Benjamin Sears, and then again in 2016 adding Dr. Sean Baran in conjunction with our office expansion.
Western Orthopaedics is one of the oldest continuous practices in Denver. We owe our success to our "forefathers", Drs. Foster Matchett and Charlie Brown – whose care, energy, and dedication established our reputation and philosophy of excellence. We look forward to continuing their legacy as one of the premier Orthopaedic groups in Denver well into the 21st Century.