History of ONE -Celebrating 50 Years

Fifty years ago, the late Dr. Ronald Kleopfer founded Northeast Orthopaedics in a small office on East State Blvd. in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His practice grew quickly, and within two years Dr. John Lee joined him in caring for orthopedic patients. Since the practice began in 1962, both the field of orthopedics and this specialty group have changed dramatically.

“When I first started practicing, there was little I could do to help those suffering from osteoarthritic conditions,” said Dr. Kloepfer in a 2002 interview. “There were a few surgeries available at that time, but none were completely reliable. Most of the time I gave patients a bag of aspirin and sent them on their way.”

In the years to follow, medical advancements allowed orthopedic surgeons to significantly impact the lives of patients. “Spinal instrumentation was a big advancement during my career,” said Dr. Kloepfer. “And total joint replacements gave us the ability to relieve pain and keep people functioning,” he said.

Dr. John Lee agrees. “When we started doing total joint replacements, we began markedly improving the quality of life for our patients,” he said. Other big improvements in orthopedics included arthroscopic surgery and spine instrumentation. “We did everything by hand when I first started out – with hand drills, hammers and chisels. By the time I retired we had power tools,” said Dr. Lee. “Those enabled us to be even more precise during surgery.”

After only a few years of practicing together, Dr. Kleopfer left Fort Wayne to teach at Indiana University, and Dr. Lee was on his own with responsibility for a large number of patients. Fortunately, he met Dr. Paul Reszel the same year while taking his board certification examination in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Reszel moved from New York to Fort Wayne to practice orthopedics in Fort Wayne with Dr. Lee.

A few years later, Dr. Kleopfer was ready to return to orthopedic patient care and planned to start his own practice in Madison, Indiana. His plans changed when Dr. Lee invited him back to the orthopedic group in Fort Wayne. “His only hesitation was that he had promised one of the residents a position in Madison when he finished school. So I said, ‘We’ll take him, too,’” said Dr. Lee.

Dr. Kleopfer returned to the group in 1966, and the IU resident, Dr. Steven Glock, joined Northeast Orthopaedics in 1968. At that time, the group became known as KLRG, an acronym for the four original partners.

Soon it was apparent that more office space was needed, and the four physicians built a 9,000 square foot medical office building at 5050 N. Clinton Street in Fort Wayne in 1969. The practice continued to thrive, and Dr. Arthur Warr and Dr. William LaSalle were recruited in 1973.

The young group paved the way in advanced orthopedic care in Fort Wayne, as well as in office technology, and earned local, regional, and national recognition as one of the most highly computerized physician offices in America at the time.

In 1977, Dr. William Couch joined the orthopedic group in Fort Wayne. A year later, Dr. James Albright began practicing orthopedics at the Clinton Street office in Fort Wayne, which was expanded the same year.

Several changes took place in 1982, when Northeast Orthopaedics was reincorporated as Orthopaedics NorthEast in order to take advantage of the acronym ONE. The practice determined it was in the patients’ best interest to be treated by highly trained sub-specialists who focused on a specific anatomical area, and fellowship-trained surgeons became the standard at ONE. In 1983, Dr. Gregory Hoffman was hired as a spine surgeon. The concept of a sports medicine oriented practice-within-a-practice became a reality with the launching of SportONE in 1984. Sports medicine surgeons and certified athletic trainers worked hand-in-hand to provide the best care possible for the injured athlete.

In 1989, ONE recruited Dr. Scott Karr as a foot & ankle surgeon. The Clinton Street office expanded again by building an adjacent ambulatory surgery center, SurgeryONE.

The demand for highly specialized surgeons continued for ONE, with the recruitment of Dr. Alan McGee as a spine surgeon in 1990 and Dr. William Berghoff as an adult reconstructive surgeon specializing in joint replacements in 1992. The next year, Dr. John Pritchard signed on as a sports medicine surgeon, and ONE hired its first physiatrist (doctor of physical medicine). In 1994, Dr. Michael Lee, the son of Dr. John Lee, joined ONE as a sports medicine surgeon, and a second physiatrist was recruited. The following year, Ortho NorthEast opened its first satellite office outside of Fort Wayne, in Warsaw. ONE also expanded with a small office on the southwest side of Fort Wayne.

ONE’s rapid growth continued in 1996, with the addition of Dr. David Goertzen, an orthopedic trauma surgeon, Dr. John Williams, a spine surgeon, and anesthesiologists Dr. Richard Johnston and Dr. Robert Wuthrich to manage the practice’s ambulatory surgery center, SurgeryONE.

In 1997, Dr. Stephen Wright, a sports medicine surgeon, began practicing medicine with the group. Also in 1997, ONE moved and expanded its southwest Fort Wayne office.

ONE continued to grow in the next few years, with the hiring of Dr. Michael McManus, a non-operative podiatrist. The group also opened another satellite office – this time in Angola. Other new additions to ONE in 1999 included Dr. Jeffrey Harris, an adult reconstructive surgeon specializing in joint replacements, and Dr. Ward Hamlet, a hand surgeon. ONE also opened an MRI facility, ImagingONE.

In 2000, the practice grew further, with a satellite office in Huntington and the recruitment of several new physicians. Dr. Chris LaSalle, a hand surgeon and son of Dr. William LaSalle was recruited, as was Dr. Brett Gemlick, who became ONE’s first sports medicine fellow. The group also opened its third office in Fort Wayne on Dupont Road.

In 2001, ONE opened a new, substantially larger office in southwest Fort Wayne.

Dr. Leamon (“Lee”) Williams, Jr. was hired to treat general orthopedics in the Warsaw, Indiana office.

ONE opened a new, significantly larger North Allen County office attached to Parkview Ortho Hospital in 2002. The new hospital was a collaborative effort between Parkview Health System and Ortho NorthEast, and is one of the few hospitals in the country dedicated solely to the care of orthopedic patients. Dr. Lorinda Browning also joined ONE as an anesthesiologist with SurgeryONE.

ONE once again grew their orthopedic practice in Fort Wayne and surrounding counties. In 2004, Dr. Shantanu (“Sean”) Kulkarni was hired as a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist specializing in pain management in Fort Wayne and in 2006, ONE opened a new satellite office in Bluffton, Indiana. Dr. David Wittbrodt was hired to practice general orthopedics in Bluffton, Indiana.

In 2008, Dr. Jason Heisler joined TraumaONE, ONE’s orthopedic trauma division in Fort Wayne. Together with Dr. David Goertzen, they handle orthopedic trauma injuries. Dr. Jon Karl joined ONE’s pain management team in Fort Wayne.

In 2010, SurgeryONE opened a new state-of-the-art Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) surgery center. ONE also hired a number of new physicians. Dr. Robert Hill and Dr. Miriam Lee were hired as anesthesiologists with SurgeryONE. Dr. Jason DeDoes, an operative podiatrist, began treating orthopedic foot problems in Fort Wayne. Dr. Rebecca Posner joined the pain management team in Fort Wayne. ONE also saw one of its physicians retire. After over 30 years of treating orthopedic conditions in Fort Wayne, Dr. William Couch retired.

ONE continued to add physicians in 2011. Dr. Matthew Stephens and Dr. Douglas Dohl both joined SurgeryONE’s anesthesia staff. Dr. Jeffrey Barr joined PainONE, ONE’s pain management team.

2012 was big year for ONE with adding new physicians to 4 different area’s.  SportONE saw the addition of Dr. David Conner, Dr. Thomas Myers joined JointONE, SurgeryONE gained anesthesiologist, Dr. Sarah LaSalle and SpineONE received the addition of Dr. Micah Smith.

SurgeryONE continued to expand their team to include anesthesiologist Dr. Scott Davis in 2013.

In 2014, SportONE was pleased to add to the team, surgical sports medicine physician Dr. Jeffrey Hartzell.

As Ortho NorthEast has grown and changed through the years, the dedication to each individual patient has remained the same. In fact, orthopedic patients have never been better served than they are today, because of ONE’s ongoing commitment to the latest technology and facilities, sub-specialty training for its physicians, choice of modern and convenient locations, and focus on making each patient’s experience the best it can be.

As Ortho NorthEast has grown and changed through the years, the dedication to each individual patient has remained the same. In fact, orthopedic patients have never been better served than they are today, because of ONE’s ongoing commitment to the latest technology and facilities, sub-specialty training for its physicians, choice of modern and convenient locations, and focus on making each patient’s experience the best it can be.