In response to the May 29 article, “Paying Physicians: Device and drug companies spent $3.8M in Treasure Valley in 2014,” I would like to provide a frame of reference regarding my mentor, Dr. Michael Coughlin.
Dr. Coughlin is one of the fathers of orthopedic foot and ankle surgery; he is recognized internationally as a great inventor, researcher, author and innovator.
Modern foot and ankle surgery has Dr. Coughlin’s name written all over it. Since he began practice in Boise in the early 1980s, he has revolutionized how surgeons treat bunion deformities, hammertoes, mallet toes, bunionettes, metatarsophalangeal joint instability, hallux rigidus (arthritis of the ball of the foot), and ankle arthritis. He has written four volumes of the most popular foot and ankle textbook worldwide, has published over 200 articles, and has given countless presentations at national and international meetings. Dr. Coughlin was instrumental in bringing the STAR total ankle replacement to the U.S., leading the clinical trials and ultimately testifying before the Food and Drug Administration to achieve final approval for its use in the U.S.
He has also designed numerous implants and instruments to improve outcomes in foot and ankle procedures. Dr. Coughlin served as the youngest president of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society as well as the International Federation of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, the premier societies in orthopedic foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Coughlin also serves as a physician adviser for the NFL.
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Dr. Coughlin does not boast with patients regarding his achievements, or the fact that he personally developed the procedure or method of correcting their malady. He has an unassuming character and he loves seeing his patients’ lives improve. He has been known to make home visits to his patients, following in the footsteps of his father, who was the second board-certified orthopedist in Boise. Dr. Coughlin established the Idaho Foot and Ankle Fellowship in 1999, opening his practice to provide training for more than 20 foot and ankle surgeons throughout the years. Orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons who come to visit Dr. Coughlin from around the world are always impressed with how a man of his stature is so personable and real.
Dr. Coughlin has chosen to invest in Boise. He is a proud supporter of the community that has been his family’s hometown for four generations. We in the Treasure Valley are very fortunate to have a man of his caliber in our midst.
Dr. Wesley Flint is an orthopedic surgeon practicing in Boise.