Person holding MRI images of the spine

Paul W. Kelley, a retired commander of the Maryland State Police Centreville barracks and 1990 Maryland State Police Trooper of the Year, suffered many back injuries during his life.

He endured surgeries, shots and pain management. Eventually nothing worked, and Kelley found himself so debilitated that he faced life in a wheelchair.

A native of Kent County, Maryland, Kelley operates Kelley Investigative Security Services. For a man who had led an active physical life on and off the job, this prognosis was devastating.

When Kelley faced another surgery, his physician suggested he get a second opinion and look into other surgical options. He sent Kelley to Khalid H. Kurtom, MD, FACS, a neurosurgeon with the University of Maryland Shore Medical Group in Easton, and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Dr. Kurtom recommended a minimally invasive surgery. "Minimally invasive spine surgery is accomplished with small incisions, minimal tissue damage, less blood loss, lower infection rate, shorter operative time, less surgical wound complications, shorter length of stay and a faster recovery and return to work," he said. 

Kelley was encouraged. "Dr. Kurtom told me I had excellent muscle tone and was otherwise in perfect health," Kelley said, "so I needed to get this surgery done."

The Surgery

Just before the scheduled surgery, Kelley's mother passed away suddenly. Four days after her funeral, Kelley went to UM Shore Medical Center at Easton for the procedure. Dr. Kurtom asked Kelley if he'd like to postpone the surgery since he was still grieving, knowing that a patient's state of mind is important to recovery after surgery. But Kelley was ready. 

Before the procedure, Dr. Kurtom introduced each member of the surgical team to Kelley, and they explained what they would be doing during the surgery. "This is a large team and each member has a specific role in the treatment process," Dr. Kurtom said. "Our team is dedicated to providing compassionate and exceptional care to our patients."

When Kelley awakened in recovery, he was amazed that the chronic pain he had suffered for so long was gone, and the feeling in his legs was returning. Early the next morning, Dr. Kurtom came into his room and announced, "We're going for a walk," and they proceeded to walk throughout the hospital. By 10 am, Dr. Kurtom discharged Kelley, who drove himself home.

Recovery and New Active Lifestyle

Kelley followed Dr. Kurtom's directions for recovery. "Two or three weeks after surgery I was walking two to three miles a day, bicycling for eight to ten miles every other day, and on weekends cycling for 20 miles. After a couple of weeks, I used no pain medications."

His recovery was so successful that he spent a week in Colorado skiing in the Rocky Mountains.

Kelley's quick recovery is a strong example of the effectiveness of minimally invasive spine surgery. "I now can bend over, touch my toes and without assistance do the simple things in life I’d taken for granted," Kelley said. "I give thanks for all of this to Dr. Kurtom for having faith in me and for giving me my life back."

For additional information about the services provided by the neurosurgery team at UM Shore Medical Group, call 410-820-9117.