Carrying On a Legacy: Introducing Dr. J. Alex Sielatycki, new MRH spine surgeon
Dr. Sielatycki trained under the late Dr. Clint Devin and will carry on the surgeon’s vision of providing world-class care in Craig
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Dr. Clint Devin had a vision to create a world-class spine care program in rural Northwest Colorado. His vision came to fruition very quickly in Craig, gaining reputability and attracting patients locally and from Wyoming to Memorial Regional Health.
His partners at Steamboat Orthopaedic & Spine Institute commended his work. His colleagues at MRH admired his knowledge and charisma, and his patients adored him.
As his practice grew, he began to speak with a spine surgeon who would work alongside him to continue building upon his vision. The surgeon he was talking to was Dr. J. Alex Sielatycki, his apprentice and good friend — and someone he knew he could trust to help bring his vision to life.
On Dec. 10, Dr. Devin tragically passed away in a small plane crash in Steamboat, sending a wave of grief throughout the community. Now, rather than working by his side as initially planned, it was announced in February that Sielatycki would officially fill Dr. Devin’s shoes as SOSI’s new spine surgeon. Sielatycki will also serve as MRH’s spine surgeon, with the intention of carrying on his beloved mentor’s legacy.
“When Dr. Devin’s partners reached out to me to fill the void he left, I was honored they thought of me first,” Sielatycki said. “I see it as a great honor and privilege to continue the legacy he was building. There are a lot of great spine surgeons, but very few who were up to his level of being an exceptional spine surgeon.”
“My goal is to continue ensuring patients in Steamboat and Craig have access to top-notch spine care,” he continued. “I believe Dr. Devin would want nothing more than having someone he trained to step in and take over his role.”
Inspiration for orthopaedic and spine care
A competitive high school basketball player, Sielatycki’s path to orthopaedic medicine began with a teenage dream of one day playing in the NBA. Those dreams were put on the sideline when he broke his ankle during his junior year season; however, through the injury and working closely with his doctor, he discovered a new opportunity in orthopaedic surgery.
Sielatycki attended medical school at Penn State, completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and accomplished his adult and pediatric comprehensive spine fellowship at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
During his residency at Vanderbilt, he was introduced to Devin and a passion for spine care. Sielatycki was immediately drawn to Devin’s strong yet kind presence, and as he progressed through his training, their relationship evolved from one of mentor-and-student to one of friendship and partnership.
“It’s hard to describe my first impression of him,” he said. “He was a very dynamic and engaging person who was highly intelligent and a highly skilled surgeon. He was very interested in educating residents and students at Vanderbilt, taking a strong interest both professionally and personally in those he mentored. It was easy for me to gravitate toward him.”
Carrying the program that Devin built in Craig played a large role in Sielatycki’s decision to move west to the mountains from Tennessee to take over the position.
Carrying on a legacy
Sielatycki heard about Devin’s passing the Saturday morning after the plane accident. He froze in disbelief.
“It’s still taking me time to process that it happened,” he said. “It was totally unexpected and truly tragic. He was in the prime of his life and career and doing what he wanted to do. It was devastating and an enormous loss for me, his family and his community. I don’t know if it’s anything you can fully recover from.”
Dr. Patrick Johnston, SOSI partner and orthopaedic surgeon at MRH, said the MRH spine program was centered around Devin as the spine surgeon. Dr. Alexis Tracy and Dr. Brian Siegel continue to address nonsurgical spine concerns, and physician assistant Jessica Nyquist, who worked alongside Devin, will now team up with Sielatycki.
“Dr. Devin provided exceptional spine care to his patients of Moffat County,” Johnston said. “His impact was more than just the care he provided to his patients. Dr. Devin understood the community in Craig and connected with the people. He also supported local causes and charities.”
Sieltaycki, is up to the task of continuing to work toward the vision that Devin had. He understands the importance of providing high-quality care in a rural setting and looks forward to bringing his training and experience to the community. He is excited to start building relationships with patients and serving as the trusted, go-to provider for those with debilitating spine issues.
Sielatycki described his sweet spot as spinal motion preservation in the neck and lower back; but he is trained in all issues related to the spine and will provide several services, ranging from cervical disk replacements to lumbar stenosis procedures.
“I’m looking forward to starting at MRH and stepping into Dr. Devin’s shoes,” Sielatycki concluded. “I know he provided the highest level of spine care and was a top-notch surgeon. My hope is to continue that legacy and provide excellent care for the people in Craig.”
Access to immediate, comprehensive spine care is essential. Memorial Regional Health offers world-class, specialized spine services right here in Craig, thanks to our partnership with the Steamboat Orthopaedic & Spine Institute.
SOSI providers — including Dr. J. Alex Sielatycki, starting mid-March — offer non-operative and orthopaedic services in Moffat County with the goal to help patients return to their previous functional status and to improve their quality of life.
To learn more, call 970-826-2450 or go to memorialregionalhealth.com.
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