Orthopedic surgeon gives valuable time and expert advice to students


Imagine you were in the top tier of your graduating class but in the midst of your second year at the University of Miami Medical School, you do not feel the same level of confidence appreciated as an undergrad.  Medical school is a whole different ballgame.  Nevertheless, your gross anatomy department has asked you to assist teaching extremity anatomy to the combined MD/PhD students.  The position involves assisting with dissection of actual cadavers for the practical lab, and creating quizzes on gross anatomy. The task is a challenge, yet rewarding because you are teaching something you truly enjoy.


Now, envision packing up your belongings, at the age of 24, and driving cross country in a Medical School Graduationday and a half.  There is no GPS, no cellphone, only your “AAA map and AM/FM radio” from Miami to San Antonio, over 1300 miles, to stay at the home of an orthopaedic chief resident you have never met.  While there, you spend one month doing an orthopaedic externship at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Afterwards, you get back in your car and drive to New Orleans to do a one month orthopaedic externship at Tulane University.  You rent the upper floor of an old Victorian home and take the trolley every day to the medical center to join the residents in making daily orthopaedic  rounds.  Over the next few years you will be “put in your place” because, regardless of your GPA or class rank, you begin to comprehend how little you actually know, and that the scope of medical knowledge can be daunting and quite humbling.  All of this is done because, more than anything, you want to be a doctor.    This was Dr. Hinkes’ early experience as a young medical student.  We will delve further into the road he traveled to become a surgeon and how, over 30 years later, he still enjoys teaching a subject of importance to him, orthopedics. 


 1.  What made you decide to get into the field of orthopedics?  

 “I injured my left knee and had arthroscopic surgery performed in 1981.  This provided first-hand knowledge of both the surgery and rehabilitative process.  After shadowing orthopedic surgery residents-in-training and teaching gross anatomy while in medical school, I came to the realization that orthopedic surgery required a detailed knowledge of human musculoskeletal anatomy, and I felt it was the best fit for me.”


 2.  What was the most memorable experience during your training?

“I treasured the invaluable experience of working and operating with some of the most nationally recognized orthopedic surgeons during my training.  Secondly, I enjoyed teaching my junior residents and students and imparting the knowledge that was given to me.”


3.  What did you find to be the most difficult aspect of being a medical student?

“As a student, it can be intimidating and overwhelming, as you go through many years of training, to realize how much you don’t know yet.  Also, the task of trying to stay focused on your goals while having a balanced personal life.”




4.  What do you look for in an ideal candidate for shadowing?

“Someone who is inquisitive, with an aptitude for science and math.  The student must seriously be considering a career in medicine and fully aware of the years of dedication and sacrifice required to become a doctor.”

 5.  What led you to the decision to offer a shadowing position to the students?

 “I enjoy teaching students who are eager to pursue their dreams and enjoy serving as one of their mentors.”

 6.  What do you hope the students gain from this opportunity?

  • “A first-hand look at how an orthopedic surgery practice runs.”

  • “Some basic orthopedic knowledge and terminology to aid in their future studies.”

  • “Introspection to see if the upcoming arduous, yet rewarding, years of training is right for them. Provide them the opportunity to get off of the wheel and look in the mirror to see if this is the right path for them.”



7.  Since you started Northwest Broward Orthopaedics over 20 years ago, what do you feel has been the most significant change in the practice of medicine?

  • “The rapid increase in innovative technology. In our orthopedic practice, this includes technical advances in arthroscopic/minimally invasive surgery.”

  • “Electronic medical records (EMR), offering prompt patient information exchange between medical providers.”

 8.  What do you envision for the future of your practice?

“I envision a growing orthopaedic practice, providing quality healthcare to our patients in a friendly environment for many years to come.”

Ultimately, Dr. Elliott Hinkes’ life experiences and interactions have developed him into the respected orthopedic surgeon he is today, instilling in him not only a love for medicine but also for teaching.  From his early introduction into the medical field, Dr. Hinkes’ enthusiasm for guiding his staff, discussing diagnoses with patients, and teaching his shadowing students is apparent.  

 Return to our blog for the third installment which will introduce Dr. Bruce Fletcher, the second board certified orthopedic surgeon in our practice. 

 We welcome you to visit Dr. Hinkes and his staff at Northwest Broward Orthopedics to experience for yourself how his expertise can play an important roll in your orthopedic health.