Orthopaedic traumatologist at Spectrum Orthopaedics
Dr. Ericka Glass Johnson, an orthopaedic surgeon, relishes putting things back together. Johnson, an orthopaedic traumatologist at Spectrum Orthopaedics, grew up in Tuscarawas County around the family business, Glass Lumber.
After a childhood filled with hammers and nails, Johnson broke her ankle in high school and had to see an orthopaedic surgeon. She saw how they fixed people, the way her family fixed homes, and knew she’d found her calling.
Johnson, 38, graduated from Tusky Valley High School then completed her undergraduate work at Wittenberg University before going to medical school at the University of Toledo. She matched with Summa Health Systems for orthopaedic surgery. It was during a residency at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh that she became passionate about trauma cases.
“I liked operating on all parts of the body,” she said.
“I kind of look at it like a puzzle. If they come in with four or five fractures on multiple extremities,” you have to prioritize the damage and decide what order everything needs to be addressed, she explained.
Johnson’s specialty is pelvic fractures, particularly acetabular fractures—breaks in the hip socket. She’s the only Canton-area doctor with that focus, Johnson said.
Before she came to Spectrum six years ago, patients had to be sent to hospitals in Akron or Cleveland for treatment.
“It’s now a population that you can keep in our community,” she said.
Many patients don’t want to be moved away from home, even if it’s only a short trip to Akron, she said.
“It’s tough. Families don’t want to come up here, especially Amish families … They really want to stay in the area, so if we can work to make it easier for them (we will).”
Johnson points at one recent case where keeping a patient nearby helped with healing after a traumatic accident.
In May, a young North Canton couple was in a motorcycle crash. A 20-year-old woman was seriously injured, and her fiancé died. The woman had serious pelvic fractures.
It’s taken a lot of time and work, but the woman is now walking again. Seeing her progress has been wonderful, Johnson said.
“To see how badly she was injured and how far she’s come. To see that and be with the family during this horrible time,” she said.
By keeping the woman in Canton, her friends and family could be there during an awful time and celebrate her progress.
Johnson treats patients at Mercy Medical Center and Aultman Hospital, as well as Spectrum.
Some days, she gets to work with her husband, Dr. Eric Johnson, also an orthopaedic surgeon (specializing in sports medicine) at Spectrum.
“It’s nice because we can talk about work if we want to, but if we don’t, we don’t have to,” she said. “He’s understanding of my lifestyle and how much I care about my work and my patients.”
When she isn’t fixing people, Johnson loves college football and the Cleveland Browns. She also runs marathons and likes just hanging out with friends and family.
Johnson loves living a half-hour from her hometown and plans to stay put for quite a while.
She wants to work together with other local surgeons to improve trauma care in the community and ensure that everyone can stay close to home.