Healthy Halifax Winter/Spring 2019: In Focus

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Just Another
Day at the Office

Weldon fire chief recovers from torn ACL following emergency call

Most kids want to be a firefighter at some point. Martin “Rusty” Bolt, 55, actually became one and has served as the fire chief for the city of Weldon since 2008. But an incident one Thursday afternoon in December 2017 put his dream career in jeopardy.

“I was responding to a 911 call for a heart attack,” Bolt recalls. “There was a fence around the property, so I had to jump. When I landed awkwardly, I knew I had torn something, but I just went on about my business.”

It turns out that Bolt tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee while jumping the fence. Fortunately for Bolt, he knew whom to call. He had undergone a meniscus repair on his right knee in 2007, performed by John S. Moss, MD, orthopedic surgeon and chief of surgery at Halifax Regional. He made an appointment with Dr. Moss the next day.

Dr. Moss, who trained under a giant in the field, has a holistic medical approach (see “Unique Approach to Care”, in Healthy Halifax Winter/Spring 2019). “Rusty has an active job and lifestyle, so that drove our treatment plan,” Dr. Moss explains. The decision to reconstruct a torn ACL is usually based on the patient’s desired activity level after recovery. Some patients with tears have a sedentary lifestyle, which will not put demands on the knee that require stability and so may not need a reconstruction. For Bolt, however, returning to his job was always the goal.

Bolt underwent surgery for his torn ACL and completed his last rehabilitation appointment in August. He considers Dr. Moss, who is his regular fishing companion, thorough and professional. “I appreciated that he showed me pictures of my procedure to help me understand what was done,” he says.

While it has taken him some time to get back to his position as fire chief, Bolt wouldn’t change how he acted back in December 2017. “If you want to be a firefighter, you’ve got to want to help somebody,” Bolt says. “That was all I was trying to do that day.”

Helping others happens to be a trait both patient and doctor share.

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