HINSDALE – They came from two different backgrounds, but it was their love of sports and medicine that not only brought them to work together, but also to be named two of the top doctors in the country.
Chuck Bush-Joseph of Hinsdale and Anthony Romeo of Burr Ridge were selected among the “Top Doctors in America” by Castle Connolly and U.S. News & World Report. The doctors are orthopedic surgeons with Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush and team physicians with the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, but the road was long for both men.
His father was a truck driver, but when Bush-Joseph was in high school, he took a liking to science and eventually got a job in an emergency room at a hospital in Detroit.
“It was a little bit of a knife and gun club hospital, so it was always a really busy and exciting place to be in an emergency room,” said Bush-Joseph, 56. “At the time ,it kind of confirmed it for me that this is a field of medicine I really enjoyed and wanted to pursue.”
As opposed to a bustling urban setting, Romeo grew up in a small town in Idaho before going to play football at Notre Dame and eventually going to medical school at St. Louis University. While in Idaho, he observed many aspects of the medical field by watching his father, a family physician.
“My dad did everything from pediatrics to orthopedics to even small surgeries,” said Romeo, 51. “I think I learned from my dad and then of course I wanted to be a doctor, and I love sports obviously, so I combined that.”
Romeo is the oldest of six children and five of them are physicians.
About 10 years ago, both men joined the professional sports side of medicine, becoming physicians for the White Sox and Bulls. Bush-Joseph said it has been a lot of fun helping the athletes, seeing the training and going to games. In 2005, he received a World Series ring when the Sox won the championship. He also had the duty of repairing Derrick Rose’s torn ACL with another physician.
“We wanted [Rose] to do everything he could to get ready, but he just wasn’t ready,” Bush-Joseph said. “I think if it weren’t for Adrian Peterson, I don’t think anybody would’ve said a word about it, but just with Adrian Peterson, his recovery was so unusual.”
Romeo also has faced the strain of helping high-profile athletes recover, as his main specialty is shoulder and elbow surgery and treatment.
“When Jake Peavy tore his latissimus tendon, which is a very unusual injury, I was asked to take care of that for him and repair his latissimus and get him back,” Romeo said.
Bush-Joseph performs more than 400 surgeries annually, including more than 100 knee ligament surgeries. Romeo said he does about 500 surgeries a year – 85 percent on the shoulder and 15 percent on the elbow.
Bush-Joseph and Romeo said they were humbled by the Top Doctor award and gracious for the nomination. What Romeo wanted to stress as well was that patients do not have to live with pain no matter what their age is.
“I have a surgery coming up to replace a 93-year-old lady’s shoulder,” Romeo said.