Ward Rafferty’s Due Diligence Pays Off

Ward Rafferty was taking his last run of the season on July 4, 2017, down the small strip of ski terrain that remained below Chair Two after one of Mammoth Mountain’s biggest seasons on record. It was Ward’s 21st ski day of the year, and he had decided to call it a day an hour early to be on the safe side.

 “I was going at a controlled speedy pace with quick turns to stay in the remaining strip of snow, when my left ski suddenly stopped as it caught a rock under the snow,” says Ward. “The rock gouged a nickel-sized scoop from my ski, I lost the ski, then I catapulted onto my left shoulder, rolling and sliding for about 65 or so feet, 10 seconds above the Mill.”

“I knew [Dr. Crall] and his team to be utterly competent at the highest levels.” –Ward Rafferty, Grateful Patient

“It’s not supposed to look like that,” said the physician at the Mammoth Hospital emergency room, Ward recalls. It turned out he had a “comminuted” fracture, “Meaning reduced to minute particles,” he says. “The ball of my left shoulder was 80 percent pulverized. The doctor then went on to say, ‘I know just the person who can fix it,” and immediately placed a call to Dr. Tim Crall.

Surgery was scheduled two days later. To replace or reconstruct was the question posed to Ward. “Due to my fine health, we went for reconstruction which had decent risks of succeeding or failing,” Ward says. “Reconstruction would be preferred if successful, but in August 2018, we realized it had failed”.

Ward is self-admittedly an analytical, process-driven type. “I went through a due diligence process with surgical options near my home in Santa Barbara. This time I had a proactive non-emergency choice.” Having had many follow up visits with Dr. Crall following the original surgery, Ward was “totally in love with Mammoth Orthopedic Institute and Mammoth Hospital.”

“I was personally and operationally predisposed to have Dr. Crall perform the second surgery, it was his art project after all, and I knew he and his team to be utterly competent at the highest levels.”  Ward’s due diligence reconfirmed Dr. Crall to be the best person to replace his shoulder. “So I undertook a few more 400-mile drives to a place I love”.

In September 2018, Ward had his second surgery with Dr. Crall, which he describes as “extraordinarily successful with hours of attention by Dr. Crall to mitigate accumulated scar tissue. He’s an artist.”  In 2023, Ward gave a gift to the Mammoth Hospital Foundation in honor of his surgeon and the hospital.

“If you have an issue that needs surgery, you should check with the Mammoth Orthopedic Institute” says Ward, who did over 3,000 hours of physical therapy at home and now is back to his regular practice of yoga and the occasional ski run “at Mammoth of course.”  

The Mammoth Hospital Foundation’s “Moving Mountains” program is an avenue for patients to express their gratitude for exceptional care. Recipients of patient recognition receive a custom lapel pin to wear proudly, and a letter from Mammoth Hospital CEO Tom Parker to be entered into their employee or physician file.

To tell your story or give a gift in honor of a caregiver who made a difference in your life, visit www.mammothhospitalfoundation.com/grateful-patients.