‘Second Chance at Life’: UnaSource Doctor Sets the Wheels in Motion to Help Homeless Veterans Get Back on Their Feet

Just like so many other drivers in Oakland County, Dr. Joseph Guettler of Bloomfield Hills saw the two homeless veterans at the corner of Woodward and Big Beaver just about every day.

After seeing them for so long, he decided to stop and talk with them to learn more about what they were all about.

That simple decision would lead to a drastic change in their lives, one that they say they will be eternally grateful for.

Building a Connection

Dr. Joseph Guettler, UnaSource Surgery Center Orthopedic Surgeon, helped two homeless veterans get back on their feet.

UnaSource Surgery Center Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Joseph Guettler

After stopping to speak with Rafael and Jesse on a regular basis, Dr. Guettler started bringing lunch to them. He learned about their history and what brought them to where they were, and he particularly found the older of the two, Rafael, fun to talk to. Dr. Guettler, who is an orthopedic sports surgeon at UnaSource Surgery Center in Troy, was drawn to them after learning their stories, which he found fascinating.

Although life did create various hardships for them, both men had served in the military. Rafael was a three-time combat veteran, including serving in Afghanistan.

Both of the men had post-traumatic stress disorder. Rafael had attended a treatment program, but it was only temporary due to others veterans’ needs for similar assistance. Rafael also had undergone several surgeries in order to get shrapnel removed out of his body.

Both of the men had lost both of their parents at a young age.

They Deserve a Break

What happened with Jesse in particular really had an impact on the foundation of the relationship among the three men.

Jesse had told Dr. Guettler that he also had served time in Afghanistan, but was dishonorably discharged. That eventually led to greater hardships for him, and he just hadn’t gotten his life back together yet, Jesse had said.

So Dr. Guettler reached over and shook Jesse’s hand, saying, ““I don’t care what happens. Thank  you for your service.’”

After driving away, Dr. Guettler looped around the avenue on his route, but as he came back around and passed them, something pulled at his heart strings.

Jesse had his head down in his hands, and he was crying.

“I believe in my heart of hearts that he was moved because he was shown respect and perhaps felt dignity for the first time in a long time,” Dr. Guettler said.

Dr. Guettler, fondly known as “Dr. Joe,” stopped to see them and brought lunch regularly over the course of several days.

“What’s the deal? What’s the plan?” he had asked them at one point. “What needs to happen to get you off the street?”

At that time, he learned that the men hoped to get a van in order to weather the winter.  Paying for a hotel room wasn’t feasible. They didn’t feel secure sleeping in a shelter. The only option left was perhaps staying in an abandoned house, which is unsafe and often illegal.

“I said, ‘We need to get you off the street.’”

Dr. Joe said he helped them because it was the right thing to do.

“I’m a Christian. I love my vets,” he said, adding that regardless of what hardships had occurred, they still served our country and deserved a break. “This was a laser-targeted mission: Two guys. Let’s see if we can change their lives.”

The name of the mission? …

‘Operation Dream Cruise’

During one of their conversations, Jesse told Dr. Joe that his childhood friend’s father owned a logging company in southern Tennessee and wanted them to come work with him. However, because they lived financially day-by-day and had no reliable transportation, the men found it difficult to get there.

But Dr. Joe wouldn’t accept that for an answer.

In mid-August, he reached out to the congregation of the church he attends, Cross of Christ in Bloomfield Hills, and told them the story. He also contacted his friends, other doctors at UnaSource, and some of the companies he has worked with. People near and far reached into their pockets to help, and between their donations and Dr. Joe’s matches, he amassed an amazing $7,000 in only three days.

All the while, he remained in contact with Rafael and Jesse, who were overwhelmed with the kindness and support.

“They couldn’t believe it,” Dr. Joe said. “I kept saying, ‘Listen, this is going to happen.’”

Dr. Guettler set the wheels in motion even further. He went online and found a van for $5,000 that had been rigged for tailgating at Michigan State University Spartan games. He told the seller the story, and the seller knocked $500 off the price tag.

Dr. Joe also helped the veterans obtain insurance on the vehicle, and he has taken them shopping to purchase new clothing, sleeping bags, and food.

Two homeless veterans are shown during a shopping trip after UnaSource Surgery Center Orthopedic Sports Surgeon Dr. Joseph Guettler helped them by starting a donation drive.

Jesse and Rafael can look forward to a second chance at life, thanks to the help of UnaSource Surgery Center Orthopedic Sports Surgeon Dr. Joseph Guettler, the Cross of Christ Church, and others in the Oakland County community.


The van has broken down twice since it was purchased, but “Steve” at Midas in Royal Oak is fixing everything at cost and donating the labor.

Because the veterans are not expected to start their new jobs in Tennessee until the end of September, Dr. Guettler has them housed in a hotel, is helping them fix their van, and is taking care of them in general.

And the support keeps on growing. As of the beginning of September, Dr. Guettler had raised more than $10,000 total for their future.

Operation Dream Cruise: Mission accomplished.

UnaSource Surgery Center Orthopedic Sports Surgeon Dr. Joe Guettler helped raise approximately $10,000 to enable the purchase of a van and other assistance for homeless veterans Rafael and Jesse.

UnaSource Surgery Center Orthopedic Sports Surgeon Dr. Joe Guettler (center) helped raise approximately $10,000 to enable the purchase of a van and other assistance for homeless veterans Jesse and Rafael.


‘2nd Chance at Life’

Rafael recently wrote to Dr. Guettler on behalf of both of them to express their gratitude to him, UnaSource, the church, and the overall community for their support.

“Speaking for myself, I know that when the going gets tough anytime down the road …  I will think back to this day of unexpected  kindness and love along with all the members of the church, the coworkers, friends, and of you specifically, Dr.Joe, and your wonderful family who put the spark which started the fire and saw the realization of two soldiers’ dream come true on this day,” he writes.

“Being in the situation that I was in, you don’t have time to dream because you are so focused on surviving day to day – shelter and food to survive another day safely.  You don’t have the luxury of a dream, but with the most kind act I have ever witnessed, let alone had the honor to be on the receiving end of this act. The day felt truly unreal, and I think honestly that gravity of the situation is just starting to sink in.

“I give you my word that I will do everything within the power of my body and spirit to fulfill the hopes and kindness that was shown and put upon us today. The whole thing is simply amazing and unbelievable, and I don’t think there is enough space on my phone’s memory to write down all of the emotions of thanks and love I have for each and everyone who helped fulfill my dream today. I have a 2nd chance at life now because of everyone’s efforts and gifts of love to give Jesse and I the opportunity to have a 2nd chance to restore the self-respect of being a contributing member of my community and a friend to those who have befriended me and to be able one day to be able to pay this great day and amazing act forward.

“Thank you eternally,

Rafael and Jesse

Learn more about UnaSource Surgery Center.

2017 Patient Satisfaction Scores Earn UnaSource Surgery Center its Ninth APEX Award!

UnaSource Surgery Center’s 2017 APEX Award win has deemed the facility one of only six in the USA (and the ONLY facility in Michigan) to receive this award nine years running!

Check out the full press release here:

Thank you to all of our patients who have provided us with feedback on your surgical experience. Your input is very important to us and assists in maintaining this prestigious designation!

UnaSource Surgery Center 1 of Only 6 with an 8 Time Win!

2016 APEX lg

UnaSource Surgery Center has received the APEX Award for excellence in patient satisfaction and quality of care by SPH Analytics for 2016 – that’s 8 years in a row and counting!

View the full press release here!


Aging gracefully: Tips and advice for general maintenance

Mucci200x300Patients who come into my office might have one or more procedures in mind, but in general, every patient desires to look good for their age and to slow down the aging process. From keeping skin looking smooth and bright to helping their weight-loss goals by minimizing problem areas and contouring the figure, there are many options available. Every plan starts with a healthy lifestyle, filled with a balanced diet and regular exercise.

When people talk about getting older, it’s not uncommon for them to use the term “aging gracefully.” Often, celebrities are described this way, because they are beautiful older women (or handsome men) who don’t seem to be going out of their way to hold on to their youth. But, celebrities aside, how does the “average” person grapple with the concept of aging gracefully when we get so many mixed messages about what it means to grow older?

“Aging gracefully” is often used as a euphemism. People may use the phrase to mean, “Looking old, but embracing it” or “Showing signs of aging, but still powering forward with life.” In this way, the term feels almost negative or backhanded – it’s the phrase we use to describe someone who isn’t looking as good as they once did.

But is that the only interpretation we can affix to this term? Perhaps aging gracefully doesn’t necessarily have to refer to age or appearance, but rather the attitude people have as they go through the various stages of life.

The best of both worlds

“Aging gracefully” has also been a word used to describe women (or men) who choose to grow older without undergoing any aesthetic procedures to help them maintain their looks. This perspective, however, feels a bit outdated. There was a time when plastic surgery was a taboo subject, but today, it’s gained wide acceptance, because people have realized that there truly are benefits to cosmetic procedures. They can help you not only look younger, but also feel more confident.

Aging gracefully doesn’t mean you have to wear your wrinkles with pride – instead, you need to do whatever is necessary to stride into your older years with confidence. For some people, this may mean simply embracing the natural signs of aging without visiting a board-certified plastic surgeon along the way. For others, it means taking steps to make your outside appearance match the way you feel on the inside. If you feel energetic and youthful internally, then there’s no shame in getting a facelift, eyelid lift, tummy tuck, or breast lift to keep your body at the same level.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal needs and desires. If you are confident about getting plastic surgery, then electing to go under the knife is the most graceful choice you can make.

About the author:

Dr. Samuel Mucci is double board-certified by The American Board of Surgery and The American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. His office is located on the northwest corner of 13 Mile and Greenfield in Beverly Hills, MI. If you’d like to see what treatments are available to you, please contact Dr. Mucci’s office at 248.283.1115.

The Facts on Urinary Incontinence and Pelvic Prolapse

Gilleran200x300Many women think that urinary incontinence, the involuntary loss of urinary control, is “just a part of aging,” but women no longer have to accept this bothersome condition that was once ignored.  Urinary incontinence affects almost 1 in 3 adult women at some point in their life, and can be a result of childbirth, surgery, and other causes.  The most common types of incontinence are “stress” (associated with activities, such as playing sports, laughing, or sneezing) and “urge” (associated with a strong desire to urinate and inability to hold it until one gets to a toilet).  Treatments available include non-surgical options, such as pelvic floor exercises either done independently or with a trained therapist, medication, and/or behavioral management (such as minimizing caffeine).  The vast majority of surgical procedures for incontinence nowadays are minimally invasive, take less than an hour, and patients can go home the same day as the procedure.  Recovery is short, with most people returning to daily activities and work in a few days.

Pelvic prolapse is another bothersome condition that is often referred to as a “dropped bladder.”  Like incontinence, this can happen after childbirth, but can also occur after hysterectomy.  More than 1 in 10 women will undergo surgery to correct this problem.  The common symptoms are that of a bulge or pressure, difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement, or discomfort.  Non-surgical options include placement of a pessary, a small device used to hold up the prolapsed tissue.  Surgical procedures to address this can be done either through a vaginal or a laparoscopic approach.

Dr. Gilleran is a board-certified Urologist with fellowship training focused in female urologic conditions such as incontinence, prolapse, and chronic pelvic pain.  He is on staff at Royal Oak and Troy Beaumont Hospitals, as well as at the UnaSource Surgery Center in Troy.   If you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact the Comprehensive Urology office inside the UnaSource Medical Building at 248-267-5035.

Recover from Total Knee Surgery in the Comfort of Home

kohen200x300 UnaSource Surgery Center’s own Dr. Robert Kohen speaks to Outpatient Surgery Magazine about the benefit of having your total joint surgery performed in an outpatient setting. Click here to read the article

Dr. Robert Kohen is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon practicing in Farmington Hills, Michigan. To see if you’re a candidate for outpatient total knee surgery, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Kohen by calling 888.647.1100.

Bunions and Hammertoes

Stroud 200x300Bunion comes from the Greek word meaning ‘turnip’. Commonly seen as a ‘bump’ about the inner aspect of the great toe, this prominence can be a very common condition. Arthritis, a cyst and/or deviation of the toe from the normal straight alignment can present as a ‘bunion’. Generally speaking, there are two causes: 1) intrinsic, or genetic, causes and 2) extrinsic ones, or those caused by ill-fitting shoes. Most bunions are not painful and are well tolerated by those with this affliction. However, some bunions cause pain with shoewear and with increased activity. Hammertoes, or a ‘bent’ toe, are commonly associated with this condition. Hammertoes can be inherited, can develop from repeated use of a narrow shoe toebox or can develop as the great toe deviates to the side, as in a classic bunion deformity.

As mentioned most prominences about the foot do not cause pain and as such, do not require any treatment. Proper fitting shoes and avoiding the repeated, long-term use of a heeled shoe with a narrow toe-box will be ones best bet to avoid the development of these conditions. However, if the prominences become painful, there are several options available for treatment.

Nonsurgical treatment generally revolves around appropriate shoewear, ie those with a wider and deeper toe box. The so-called bunion straps and stretching devices that one occasionally sees on late night commercials are generally useless in correcting the condition. Pain about a hammertoe can be improved with a corn pad placed directly over the prominence to limit rubbing on the shoe. Toe sleeves can be placed over the affected toe to limit friction. The toe can be taped down in a figure-of-8 manner to place the toe in the appropriate alignment.

Surgical treatment is indicated for pain and perhaps with the inability to wear a reasonable shoe. Surgical treatment for cosmetic reasons, if poorly performed, can result in a painful condition that otherwise was not present initially and is strongly discouraged. One often hears horror stories about friends and family that have undergone a procedure on the foot only to have continued pain and a recurrent deformity.

However, if the foot prominence is painful and the condition limits activities or reasonable footwear, surgery can improve or eliminate the problematic situation. Advances in anesthesia, postoperative pain control as well as the multitude of procedures available to correct the condition has vastly improved patient recovery and outcomes from a foot procedure. While the surgical procedure is generally quick, the recovery usually takes around 3 months for most people to recover fully and notice the benefit. During this time, one is able to ambulate, however slowly. Proper preparation for this time period, should it arise, can ease the recovery.

In summary, knowledge about the condition, its causes and consequences and the treatment options available, will help improve patients appropriately manage this condition. Two reputable websites that explain foot/ankle problems in-depth include and

Dr. Christopher Stroud is certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and a member of the Medical Staff here at UnaSource Surgery Center. His office is located at 4550 Investment Drive, Suite 240 in Troy. To learn more or schedule an appointment with Dr. Stroud, please call 248.792.9881.

What is a Physiatrist?

PhyBiglinsiatrists, or rehabilitation physicians, are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move

The field of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) began in the 1930s to address musculoskeletal and neurological problems, but broadened its scope considerably after World War II. As thousands of veterans came back to the United States with serious disabilities, the task of helping to restore them to productive lives became a new direction for the field. The American Board of Medical Specialties granted PM&R its approval as a specialty of medicine in 1947.

Rehabilitation physicians are medical doctors who have completed training in the medical specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). Specifically, rehabilitation physicians:

  1. Diagnose and treat pain
  2. Restore maximum function lost through injury, illness or disabling conditions
  3. Treat the whole person, not just the problem area
  4. Lead a team of medical professionals
  5. Provide non-surgical treatments
  6. Explain your medical problems and treatment/prevention plan

The job of a rehabilitation physician is to treat any disability resulting from disease or injury, from sore shoulders to back & neck pain. The focus is on the development of a comprehensive program for putting the pieces of a person’s life back together after injury or disease – without surgery.

Rehabilitation physicians take the time needed to accurately pinpoint the source of an ailment. They then design a treatment plan that can be carried out by the patients themselves or with the help of the rehabilitation physician’s medical team. This medical team might include other physicians and health professionals, such as neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists. By providing an appropriate treatment plan, rehabilitation physicians help patients stay as active as possible at any age. Their broad medical expertise allows them to treat disabling conditions throughout a person’s lifetime.

Dr. Peter Biglin is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. His office, Performance Orthopedics, is located at 24255 Thirteen Mile Road in Bingham Farms. He is also a member of the Medical Staff at UnaSource Surgery Center in Troy. To learn more or schedule an appointment with Dr. Biglin, please call 248.988.8085.

Joseph Guettler, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist

userID_11_attachment_GuettlerThe abuse of painkillers is becoming an epidemic and it is imperative that physicians and patients explore alternatives to narcotics for pain management, especially in a post-surgical setting. One of the greatest advancements in terms of effective knee surgeries has been to manage this pain with regional anesthesia.

Until recently, post-surgical pain was primarily treated with narcotics, which may cause undesirable side effects including post-operative nausea and vomiting, sedation and pose the risk of dependence and addiction. My anesthesiologists regularly use regional anesthesia, or nerve blocks, to help control post-operative pain.  I have them perform femoral nerve blocks for surgeries like ACL reconstructions and adductor nerve blocks for routine knee arthroscopies.  These blocks definitely help assist patients with their pain management, and I have witnessed firsthand the benefits of nerve blocks utilizing regional anesthesia, specifically with the ON-Q Pain Relief System. My patients experience fewer narcotic-related side effects and a faster early recovery when compared to narcotics alone.  I truly believe – as I tell my patients – that these nerve blocks have revolutionized early post-operative pain control.

The greatest challenge in performing peripheral nerve blocks is not the actual procedure, but the lack of familiarity amongst most patients and many clinicians. Unfortunately, patients aren’t as aware as they should be regarding the options that are available to them when it comes to post-operative pain control.  Surgeons and anesthesiologists alike need to remain current and “in the loop” when it comes to the most advanced pain control options so that they can offer their patients the best options for post-operative pain control – including regional anesthesia.

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