Manish Gupta from the Coral Springs High School yearbook and Teacher Barbara Nunn from around 1987-1988
By: Sharon Aron Baron
Former Coral Springs High School teacher Barbara Nunn received a magazine delivered to her home and recognized a familiar name advertising his Orthopedic practice in town: her former student Manish Gupta. Immediately she recognized him.
“There can only be one Manish Gupta,” she thought.
Nunn, who taught at Coral Springs High School from 1976 – 1990, was having knee problems at the time.
“I was going somewhere else and and I wasn’t happy, so I called his practice and asked them if Manish Gupta graduated from Coral Springs High School, and they said he did,” said Nunn.
Nunn was Gupta’s precalculus teacher in 1987. It was back then, he said, he had aspirations of one day becoming a doctor.
“I did well, it was tough,” said Gupta about Nunn’s precalculus class. “I was always in the honors AP.”
Nunn agreed, and said Gupta did very well in her class. “He was bright – he was one of those kids.”
“I think she knew that I wanted to be a Doctor,” said Gupta.
“But I didn’t think he’d follow though,” Nunn said laughing.
.…The satisfaction of knowing that someone who had an opportunity to change your life, you had an opportunity to change their life.” – Manish Gupta
Gupta, originally from Jaipur, India, moved to Coral Springs in 1983, graduated from Coral Springs High School in 1989 and went on to attend the University of Florida, University of Miami Medical School, eventually taking a residency at Seton Hall in New Jersey, and then on to a fellowship in Sports and Reconstruction Medicine at Johns Hopkins Union Memorial Hospital.
Now a surgeon dealing with trauma, replacements and sports medicine, he has not only become the team doctor for Florida Atlantic University’s sports program, but also his alma mater: Coral Springs High School’s sports department.
After 27 years, Nunn who was now retired from the classroom had finally stopped working at a publishing company. She was enjoying spending her time traveling, however, she was having arthritis problems with her knee, and while wearing a brace had helped, she began having hip problems.
After Gupta had examined Nunn, he said that like all his patients, he took a conservative approach. First he determined that she had arthritis but since Nunn had some trips planned, he gave her injections of cortisone to relieve her pain.
But Nunn’s condition worsened while spending time in Hawaii, and needed Advil to help her function. After she returned home and did physical therapy, both doctor and patient realized it still wasn’t enough.
Gupta explained there came a point where she could not handle the pain and that it was affecting her life, a decision point that he mutually reaches with his patients.
“How is the quality of their lives? Is it now affecting their overall happiness, and what they want out of their own lives?” It is at that point that Gupta discusses a surgical solution to a patient’s issues and in Nunn’s case, an advanced approach to relieving the pain in her hip. On July 22, at Broward Health, Gupta performed a left total hip arthroplasty (Direct Anterior Approach) on Nunn. This is where the diseased hip is removed and an artificial hip is placed through a limited, minimally invasive incision.
Gupta said she went through the procedure well and was walking the next day.
“They get you up the day of,” Nunn laughed, “But it didn’t hurt. There was no pain. It’s amazing.”
She did have one complication afterwards. In her follow-up x-rays, they noticed she had a fracture which ended up healing on its own.
“You want everything to go routinely all the time. You want everything to go ideally, however, she was one of the few that I’ve had in my practice that developed a small fracture.”
But Nunn had confidence in Gupta handling any complications that could arise, and in the end, her hip replacement worked out beautifully she said. Because she wasn’t in any pain, Gupta wanted to hold her back a little bit so she could give the fracture a chance to heal.
“No surgeon or doctor can be perfect all the time and things can happen, but certainly the doctor has to recognize when something is wrong and stick with the patient.’
“As an orthopedic surgeon I don’t just treat what’s broken, I treat the whole body,” said Gupta, who prior to performing surgery gives his patients a thorough nutritional and body mechanical assessment as well as have them go through pre-physical therapy. If patients are obese, he addresses this as well and tries to give them nutritional and weight loss help.
“All of these things can affect a person’s outcome and their recovery process,” he said. “It’s a holistic approach, so patients get the complete information.”
Nunn said the best part now is that she has no pain. She has discomfort at times, but nothing like she used to endure. After Gupta performed her hip replacement surgery, she was only in the hospital two nights and went straight home where she had someone help her for a few weeks.
Nunn said she didn’t have any hesitation about having a former student perform surgery on her. She even said that Gupta performed knee replacement surgery on his own father.
Gupta said that there was a rewarding aspect of the surgery that far encompasses anything in his career or any financial gain. “The satisfaction of knowing that someone who had an opportunity to change your life, you had an opportunity to change their life, ” he said.
“Just as it was her job to teach me, the rewarding thing was I was able to reach my goals in my career for myself. For me, it’s the same thing, it kind of comes all the way around that there was a kid in class that was motivated enough, inspired enough, to follow his dreams, accomplish it, and make it a career. Along while doing that career I’m able to give back, so I think that was a complete circle for me.”
“As my parents always said, in our culture teachers are more revered than your parents because of that knowledge. To be part of that circle in small way was quite rewarding.”