“I like the challenge of having to be holistic,” he says. “If I have a 2-year-old who comes in limping, who is not articulate and I’m not getting much history from the parent either, you have to look at the whole child. Pediatric orthopedics, I would argue, is the only academic orthopedic specialty where you can still look at the whole patient.”
David and Ben have, to date, operated together more than 100 times. Before he began at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley, Ben was a pediatric orthopedist at a competing hospital, but that didn’t stop his father from scrubbing in to assist in complex cases.
“What stands out for me is, before I came to NewYork-Presbyterian I didn’t have colleagues with my dad’s experience,” Ben says. “My dad got attending privileges at my hospital and would scrub in with me, which was very cool. There was always a feeling of comfort and confidence to have him there helping out.”
The feeling is mutual. David says Ben shares the qualities of being “amazingly calm and competent” in the operating room. Now that they are at the same hospital, Ben will scrub in with his dad at least once a month, sometimes twice.
When they are together in the operating room, David and Ben even like the same background music.
“I listen to alternative rock and metal, like Metallica and Nine Inch Nails, and some classic stuff and Ben does the same,” David says. Asked how he ended up with similar taste in music, Ben answers, “I used to buy all his music for him when I was a resident.”
“He’s very modern,” Ben says of his dad. “He’s like that with everything. He evolves, he’s open to change. He’ll eat anything, except for brain. He went bungee jumping in New Zealand. He keeps up with the latest music, and he is way trendier than me from a fashion standpoint.”
Outside of the operating room, David and Ben are happy to consult each other on cases.
“I help him as much as he helps me,” Ben says, and his father agrees. David recalls a recent case involving a patella (kneecap) fracture, and he asked Ben to come in and take a look at the X-rays and give his opinion. David was with two other highly respected pediatric orthopedic surgeons — Dr. Joshua Hyman and Dr. Michael Vitale — and when Ben left the room, one turned to David and said, “You take advice from your son?”
“Yes, I do. He’s a very smart man,” David replied.
The desire in the Roye family to pursue careers in science and medicine didn’t stop with David and Ben. Among David and Carol’s six children, two are physicians, one is a veterinarian, one is an astrophysicist, one is an architect, and the youngest just finished a master’s program in videography. Among Ben’s three children, his daughter, the eldest, has ruled out medicine, but his two boys are open to the idea, meaning there could be a new generation of Roye orthopedic surgeons.
“It’s a little bit early,” David says of Ben’s children, “but I could see both of them pursuing orthopedic surgery — for sure.”