Physicians and PTs Collaborate On-Site for Patient Success


Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: ORA Doctors and PTs Collaborate On-Site for Patient Success

Like many working parents, 41-year old, Ben Serianz, Davenport, knows that when life comes at you, it can do so all at once: a new house, welcoming a new baby, parenting three boys, and all while recovering from a painful work injury.

“I like to be fit, rough house with my kids, and I enjoy my physically demanding job. It just feels good to put in a hard day’s work and then come home and enjoy fatherhood,” affirms Ben. 

But as with life, the unexpected can throw a curve ball and upset even the most diligent parents who are balancing the demands of work, home, and family.  Ben is an assistant foreman at Continental Cement in Buffalo, Iowa, a rock quarry and cement plant. It’s a job that requires heavy lifting, jackhammering, and the satisfaction of leading a team to serve customers every day.

“One summer day, we were doing some plant cleanup and operating a giant vacuum truck. I was helping my colleague who was working at the end of an industrial hose when the hose sucked up some material that was really hot.

“The hose was plastic, so it collapsed, went taught, and basically swept my feet from under me. I was thrown down like a rag doll on the concrete floor and landed on my left shoulder. It happened so fast, I had no time to react, and the next moment I knew, I was trying to get off the ground.”

A painful injury at work led Ben to ORA Orthopedics

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Dr. Ryan Dunlay, ORA Orthopedics

A visit to the company physician and an MRI at ORA Orthopedics revealed a tear in the labrum of Ben’s shoulder. “It was a significant labral tear,” says ORA Sports Medicine Surgeon, Dr. Ryan Dunlay. To repair such tears, Dr. Dunlay performs small incisions, and then arthroscopically reattaches the labrum to the ball and socket joint of the shoulder.

However, due to the impending birth of a new baby and a recent purchase of a new home, Ben asked to delay surgery. He underwent physical therapy until the birth, and it was a challenge juggling the demands of home, PT, and a career.

“I was frustrated. I enjoy my job and I like getting dirty and doing hard, physical work. I did not like being on light duty and felt limited to jump in and help other employees. I missed my work and I felt I wasn’t able to contribute.”

Finally, following the birth of their third son, Ben was ready for surgery and to tackle the tough road of rehabilitation. Dr. Dunlay successfully reattached Ben’s labrum and worked directly with Ben’s Physical Therapist, Joe Piersanti, at ORA Physical Therapy just steps away from Dr. Dunlay’s office.

Ben committed to physical therapy following his surgery

“Ben’s injury was significant and can require up to six months or more of rehab to regain strength and mobility,” explains Joe. “It is the perfect set-up to be able to work with Ben and literally be steps away from Dr. Dunlay where we were able to make adjustments in real-time to tailor the PT plan unique to him. Ben was absolutely dedicated to doing the exercises and rehab plan we had in place and his outcome has been fantastic.”

“Joe was great,” adds Ben. “He gave me the treatment that allowed me to heal and help to strengthen my body. When I reached a point of healing, we started to stretch and work my shoulder and back muscles.

“Rehab can be really hard. I had to sleep in a recliner, sitting upright, because I couldn’t lay down on my shoulder. Joe was great to work with and has an impeccable demeanor. He is so personable, and he knew when to push me and when not to. Most importantly, he was knowledgeable and patient with all my questions. He explained how I was healing and what was going on as worked on my shoulder.


“I knew he and Dr. Dunlay were working closely together and that gave me the confidence I was on the right track. I felt that Dr. Dunlay allowed Joe the freedom to treat me based on his skills and knowledge. I felt more comfortable that they collaborated.

“Dr. Dunlay is so skilled and also very attentive to my needs. Post-surgery, he really helped me with pain management and was there every step of the way. He’s a really good doctor, and whenever I had a question, he’d call me back. He was very available. He’s a cool dude.”

Thanks to this team approach, Ben is back to work and life. “My range of motion has greatly returned. I am released for full duty, so it feels good to start getting back. I feel more useful than I have in a long time. Now I can hang out with our ‘pack of kids’ rough-house, and hold my newborn son, Charlie, without fear of dropping him. I can enjoy him and do hands-on parenting to help my wife, Kristie, who has been my biggest supporter.”

Provider collaboration streamlines patient care at ORA

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Joe Piersanti, ORA Physical Therapy

Ben’s rehabilitation coincided with a newly reorganized PT department that brings ORA’s therapists under one roof at each of its major clinics in Moline, Davenport, and Bettendorf. Dr. Dunlay adds, “I have a very close relationships with our PTs, and Joe is very skilled. He also manages our Bettendorf therapy location. He’ll come up during my clinic and we’ll meet to discuss patients. Meeting face-to-face helps streamline patient care and keeps me informed.

“It’s the best situation for everybody. It helps the patient feel comfortable and confident in their care. There are nuances to each patient’s surgery, so having that one-on-one communication allows everyone on the team to treat that patient and change the rehab treatment as needed in-real time.”

Dr. Dunlay and Joe both agree that the close proximity allows for seamless care. “In stand-alone PT locations, sometimes records can be delayed and coordinating with other providers can be a challenge. Here at ORA, patient records can be accessed in one system, and we can make immediate changes to the specific therapy of that patient, which is only possible when you are all in one place.”

If teamwork truly makes the dream work, then Ben’s recovery is case in point. “Ben is doing great,” adds Joe. “He had a difficult injury, given the demands of his job that he literally carries on his shoulders. He has surpassed our expectations. It does take a team, and we are happy to watch patients like Ben resume their active lives.”

Ben and Joe at ORA Physical Therapy in Bettendorf, IA.