If you’re suffering from aches and pains, just getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task. Discomfort from arthritis, fractures and tears can quickly become debilitating without the proper treatment. That’s why, for nearly 30 years, the South Sound has trusted a medical team that puts patients first by providing five-star orthopedic care.

A History of Community Care

Angie and Desiree
Dr. Patrick Vaughan’s team: Angie Baker PA-C and Desiree MA. Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Orthopaedics. Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Orthopaedics.

Puget Sound Orthopaedics (PSO) treats a full spectrum of orthopedic conditions, from spine and neck issues all the way down to hips, knees, ankles and feet. They have served the Tacoma, Lakewood and Gig Harbor area for nearly 30 years, but the organization’s roots in the community go even further back. Founding doctor Dale Hirz, a retired Army orthopedic surgeon and Lakewood resident, first began serving the South Sound at his Lakewood office in 1971. His mission was simple: to provide patients with cost-effective orthopedic care close to home.

As his private practice grew, so did Dr. Hirz’s stable of specialists, all committed to providing the community with best-in-class care for their joints, bones, muscles and nerves. Fellowship-trained surgeons, doctors able to provide concentrated care and sports medicine experts joined the team as time went on. In 1990, nearly two decades after Dr. Hirz saw his first patient, he established Lakewood Orthopaedic Surgeons. This was the official establishment of what is now Puget Sound Orthopaedics.

Today, PSO has expanded its coverage area to include three locations around the South Sound. Their founding clinic in Lakewood is located in a building with other orthopedic-related businesses such as medical supplies, physical therapy and imaging, which allows for greater convenience of orthopedic care. The Tacoma clinic, located close to Highway 16 and MultiCare Allenmore Hospital, is also home to PSO’s MRI facility, Puget Sound Imaging (PSI). With the addition of a third clinic in Gig Harbor, which boasts gorgeous views of the Sound and is also located just off Highway 16, Puget Sound Orthopaedics had officially doubled in size. When this clinic opened in 2016, it became the largest independent orthopedic practice in Pierce County.

Puget Sound Imaging Puerto Rico
Puget Sound Imaging: Kelly, Jessica, Sam, Kristin, and Heidi. Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Orthopaedics.

With three offices, an imaging center and an outpatient surgery facility, the team of dedicated doctors and medical staff have helped thousands of patients get their lifestyles back to normal after injury. “We have been the South Sound’s bone and joint specialists for almost 30 years,” says Sharayah Kinney, Community Liaison at PSO. “We help our patients return to the activities and lifestyles they love by treating the pain in their bones and joints.”

Exemplary Surgical Care

A knowledgeable team that provides an exemplary level of care has played the biggest role in the group’s growth. Patients report that the entire team, from schedulers to medical assistants and surgical staff, provide excellent care from start to finish. “Everyone is friendly, caring and professional,” says recent patient Elaine. “This practice was highly referred by friends and rehab staff – and I can see why. I have the utmost confidence in this team and I have highly recommended them to everyone I talk to.”

Expert surgeons are the backbone of PSO’s stellar reputation. Many members of the surgical team receive an additional year of training in their subspecialty, called fellowship training. This additional boost in their subspecialty provides them with knowledge of advanced surgical techniques and expands their level of expertise. Every clinic in the network offers X-ray and casting services, and patients don’t need to travel from location to location to find a doctor able to treat their specific problem – every specialty is covered at all PSO clinics.

Dr. Krumin's team
Dr. Krumin’s clinical team: Sharlyne MA, Charleen MA, Dr. Peter Krumins, AJ, Chris Spikes PA-C. Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Orthopaedics.

Compassion plays a big part in what makes PSO stand apart from their contemporaries. “Listening to the patient and developing a treatment plan according to their goals. Educating them on their condition. Putting the needs of the patient first. These simple but important steps,” says Sharayah, “are the foundation of PSO’s compassionate care.”

It doesn’t hurt that PSO offers cost-effective solutions for orthopedic patients. Its network of clinics come equipped with state-of-the-art tools to diagnose problems quickly and help patients get on the road to recovery faster. Because specialists have all of the tools they need to serve their patients on-site, surgery performed at the Lakewood Surgery Center and MRIs performed at PSI tend to be lower in cost than a hospital setting.

A Legacy of Five-Star Patient Care

Puget Sound Orthopaedics is more than the best-practice techniques in science and business that have made it a thriving care center. It’s a place where trained professionals put clients first. Staff and surgeons at PSO treat the patient as a whole, guided by a set of core values that are literally at the “HEART” of its mission – H.E.A.R.T. stands for honesty, empathy, accountability, respect and teamwork.

Monika and Jaime
Puget Sound Ortho’s Gig Harbor front desk staff: Monika and Jaime. Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Orthopaedics.

What makes PSO’s core values so special is where they come from: the doctors, medical assistants and office staff that make the organization tick developed this code of ethics themselves. Employees were recently surveyed about what they would describe as an important part of what they do. The same values came up from so many different individuals who were independently surveyed that the network decided to reshape their existing values around these guiding principles.

The resulting values include a commitment to honest, open and transparent action and communication, approaching every situation with integrity and courage. Yet another value is that healthcare providers are empathetic – the team actively listens in order to develop insight into what others are feeling and respond with grace and compassion. PSO is accountable for the actions, opinions and beliefs of its team. The team fosters respect and honors dignity, diversity and individuality. Teamwork is the final tenet all PSO team members live by, collaborating to use individual talents and create a culture of service and collective accomplishment.

Experience Puget Sound Orthopaedic’s quality care yourself at any of their three convenient South Sound locations, where all doctors are always taking new patients. Call 253-582-7257 to schedule an appointment.

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