Health & Wellness

Press Releases

Inspiring Story of Morristown Medical Center Surgeon to Be Featured on ABC’s 20/20

Dr. Christopher McCulloh, a third year general surgery resident at Morristown Medical Center uses a Levo C3 standing wheelchair while operating. Credits: Morristown Medical Center

MORRISTOWN, NJ – Long before becoming a general surgery resident at Morristown Medical Center, Dr. Christopher McCulloh experienced a life-changing event nine years ago that would be one of his greatest tests of will just six months before starting medical school at Case Western Reserve University, the top-ranked private research university in Ohio.

It was a typical a Sunday evening, as McCulloh recalled, until he slipped on the hardwood floor and dislocated the C7 spinal segment in his neck, which rendered him unconscious for about 15 minutes and paralyzed below the waist.  After a two-week stay in the hospital and enduring a four-month rehabilitation program it was clear that he wouldn’t be able to return to pre-injury form where he wouldn’t be able to walk independently again.

That is when the reality of the daunting challenge that he faced of becoming a surgeon sunk in, but it did not discourage him from pursuing his life-long dream. In fact, it served as his motivation to prove others wrong even though he admittedly had some tough days throughout the rehabilitation process.

Sign Up for E-News

“My initial interest was in neurosurgery and when I broke my neck, I told the neurosurgeon who operated on me that I’m going to medical school and I want to do what you’re doing,” explained McCulloh, as he recalled his first doubter. “He was very supportive of my interest in medical school, but suggested that I pursue something else where I wouldn’t be standing for long periods of time.”

Throughout medical school, McCulloh received much more support, which he says a major factor in his development as a surgeon.

“I was fortunate enough to find a few surgeons who were more than happy to have me with them in the operating room,” says McCulloh. “They were very willing to find ways to make it work.”

It was during medical school that McCulloh received advice from a plastic surgeon in Hawaii how he could ‘mobilize’ himself through a standing wheelchair, which was backed in his case through a state-funded program in Ohio that he was able to secure as a medical school student. Upon learning that several other surgeons across the country were able to perform at a high level under similar circumstances, it gave him a boost of confidence.

“I’ve been fortunate that more often than not, I’ve had people in my life that have been very supportive,” suggests McCulloh, who is in his third year at Morristown Medical Center. “I’ve had really good mentorship. Not only at medical school, but now with Dr. (Eric) Lazar, who is the program director at Morristown Medical Center even before I started here.

“The mentorship I’ve received has been key all along the way.”

Dr. McCulloh now uses a specialty Levo C3 standing wheelchair while he operates and has been using this device over the last four years. This enables him to perform surgeries just like any other surgeon.

ABC’s 20/20 will feature Dr. McCulloh’s journey to becoming a surgeon tonight alongside other doctors with disabilities in the 10 p.m. hour. The segment cross-promotes the channel’s new TV medical-drama series “The Good Doctor,” a surgeon living with autism spectrum disorder, which will premiere on Monday, September 25.

“I’ve learned that a lot of people are dealing with challenges in life, mine just happen to be more visible,” McCulloh said. “It’s important not to get caught up in the little day-to-day bumps and hiccups. Don’t lose sight on the big picture of what’s important in life.”

McCulloh’s inner competitive-self motivates him to continue performing at a high level while saving patients’ lives.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Grocery Shopping With A Twist

Grocery shopping takes on a new meaning at Sadie’s! 

This week we are introducing the brand Groceries Apparel. Their focus is to create fashion pieces with a purpose by using organic and recycled materials and made right here in the USA. With a focus on seed to skin these new items are sexy meets “green” with super soft shirts made from eucalyptus and versatile ...

Election Day Is Over. Now What?

Election Day 2017 has passed with some significant changes to both the school board and Maplewood Township Committee (TC), but perhaps not as big as some might have expected.

But where do both governing bodies go from here? Will we see a new mayor or a new school board president in 2018?

If the voting results are any indication, perhaps not.

Both Mayor Vic DeLuca and Board President ...

AtlantiCast: Episode 007

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll see how Atlantic Health System is driving innovation and finding new ways to solve tomorrow’s health care challenges, find out how a near tragedy on the tennis courts was averted thanks to some world-class training and technology at Chilton Medical Center and meet the 70 cancer doctors you need to know about – plus much ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Three Thefts Reported

November 22, 2017

November 13 - Theft from Auto; During the previous day an unsecured vehicle parked on Oberlin St was entered and change was stolen.

November 13 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle parked on North Cresent was entered and change was stolen.

November 19 - Motor Vehicle Theft; At approximately 8:15 p.m. an unsecured vehicle left running with the keys in ...

What's Open on Thanksgiving in Maplewood and South Orange

November 22, 2017

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Wondering what's open on Thanksgiving? Here is a list of SOMA restaurants, grocery stores, and liquor stores that are open this Thursday, November 23: 

MAPLEWOOD

Maple Leaf Diner (165 Maplewood Ave., Maplewood) is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Maplewood Diner (1473 Springfield Ave., Maplewood) is open 24 hours.

Parkwood Diner (1958 ...

Maplewood Observes Veterans Day with Ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 11

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Veterans Day was observed and celebrated in the Maplewood Municipal Building on Saturday, November 11.

Music was provided for the observance by the Maplewood Concert Band under the direction of Steve Kimmons, Former Commander of the Eighth Air Force Band.

After the first musical number was played, Maplewood Mayor Victor DeLuca called the ceremony to order, and called ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, November 23

The GenWealth Group, Maplewood

Jersey Cares Coat Drive

Giving Back

Carousel_image_24dfebf016d155f25e1b_ryan_roa_postcard_front_lo_res

Thu, November 23, 10:30 AM

Seton Hall University, South Orange

Ryan Roa - It's Complicated

Arts & Entertainment

Fri, November 24

The GenWealth Group, Maplewood

Jersey Cares Coat Drive

Giving Back

Carousel_image_ca01a7c1b17f2cacbd1b_cleanup

Fri, November 24, 8:00 AM

South Orange

"Blue" Friday Rahway River Clean Up

Giving Back Green

Family Health

Be Aware of Pancreatic Cancer’s Warning Signs

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and nationally renowned gastrointestinal (GI) cancer physician-scientist Angela Alistar, MD thinks it is critical that everyone learn how to recognize the warning signs of this aggressive cancer. Dr. Alistar is medical director of GI medical oncology at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center of Morristown Medical Center, Atlantic Health ...

East Orange Man Found Dead After Shooting in New Brunswick

November 18, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - An East Orange man died Friday night after a shooting in New Brunswick, authorities announced November 18.

Tawan J. Moses, age 25 of East Orange, was found dead by authorities at 8:30 p.m. on Throop Avenue near Fester Park according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.

Moses had multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the ...

Downtown Millburn Offers Free Parking for Holiday Season

MILLBURN, NJ - The free parking season kicked off this week in downtown Millburn and in lots around town. Beginning on Wednesday, November 15, the free parking will last through the holiday season. The suspension of parking fees in downtown have traditionally started on Black Friday, but shoppers will get extra time away from the meters to encourage the community to shop at local ...

Guess Hoo-Hoo-Hooo is Back in Clark

November 22, 2017

CLARK, NJ - It is Thanksgiving week and one nocturnal raptor living in town has much to be thankful for this year. The Great-Horned owl found caught in a soccer net at Arthur L. Johnson High School in August is back in town, thanks to the kindness of a couple of locals and the expertise of the staff at The Raptor Trust.     

According to a representative from the ...

Atlantic Health Recognizes Randi Cataquet and Stephen Coughlin for Neuroscience Nursing Excellence

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Atlantic Health System presented its annual neuroscience nursing awards to Stephen Coughlin, RN, of Parsippany and Randi Cataquet, of Springfield.

Coughlin, who works at Morristown Medical Center, was named the Atlantic Health System Neuroscience RN Rising Star Award winner. In presenting him with the award, Gayle Walker-Cillo RN, said Coughlin has a reputation for showing ...

Paterson's Great Falls National Park Celebrates Birthday

November 9, 2017

PATERSON, NJ - There’s Yosemite and Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Grand Teton, celebrations of beauty, centers of tourism. But, thanks to the work of so many that lived in and loved Paterson, the Silk City, since 2011, can boast of being the home to its very own national park. 

Calling the history of the falls, and the role the natural wonder has played in the development of ...

A Holiday Feast For Train Fans Is On Display At The Model Railroad Center

November 22, 2017

Looking for something to do the day after Thanksgiving? Drop in to the Model Railroad Center and enjoy a festive sound and light show highlighting a sprawling, meticulously detailed HO layout.

See if you can spot the Batmobile and other surprises!

Snack bar, toddler rest area and gift shoppe conveniently located on site. Modest admission fee goes to support the non-profit Model Railroad ...

St. Joseph's CYO Basketball Slam Dunks its Opening Games

St. Joseph's CYO program kicked off the 2017-2018 season this weekend with three of its teams participating in the 9th Annual St. Peter's Prep Invitational in Jersey City.  In the opening game, St. Joseph's 7th Grade boys White team played a thrilling contest against St. Helen's of Westfield.  Trailing 35-28 heading into the 4th quarter, the Celtics erupted for 23 points ...

Essex County Historic Holiday House Tours are Dec. 2 and Dec. 3

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. invites the public to celebrate the holiday season and participate in the Annual Essex County Historic Holiday House Tour. This year, the tour includes 15 Essex County historic sites, which will be decorated for the holidays and open to the public for a weekend tour. The tour includes Essex County Kip’s Castle and the Walther House at ...