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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.

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“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.

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Feeling Lucky

Shop of the morning to you! It’s that time of year when everyone’s color is green! Stop by Sadie's to get your St. Patty’s shirt before the big day. While your here and feeling lucky check out our latest Spring styles for Men and Women. You may make your friends green with envy.

Horoscope: Have a birthday between 3/13 and 3/24? If you stumble into a ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


South Orange Police Blotter - Adult Arrests for Shoplifting and DWI Reported

March 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of March 16

Adult Arrest/Shoplifting - William Minitee, a 45 year old Irvington resident was arrested on Thursday, March 8, at approximately 12:40 p.m. for shoplifting. Security officers at the Stop & Shop on Valley Street observed Minitee conceal several items on his person and then flee the store without paying for the items. Officers stopped a subject ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Home Burglary, Burglary at DeHart Community Center Reported

March 4 - Burglary; At approximately 1:20 a.m., officers observed a male removing several items from inside DeHart Community Center. The male was identified as 22 year old Joe Carr of Irvington. He was arrested and charged with burglary.

March 6 - Burglary; At approximately 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a home on Broadview Avenue on a report of a ...

Most South Orange Maplewood Schools Plan to Participate in National School Walkout on Wednesday, March 14

March 12, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - On Wednesday, March 14, the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is organizing a National School Walkout. According to the national march website, the walkout is for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. "to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods... and to demand Congress ...

South Orange and Maplewood Share Snow Storm Photos

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ — TAPinto SOMA wants your snow storm photos!

Send your pictures to and we'll add them here.

Check back later to see what your neighbors have added.

Upcoming Events

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Maplewood Strollers Present John Patrick ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 18, 3:00 PM

Madison Junior School, Madison

Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey Winter ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 18, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Mon, March 19, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Members of Brick City Brims Charged for Alleged Roles in Drug Trafficking Organization

March 17, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – Six members of the Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang were arrested last week for their alleged roles in a major drug trafficking organization that dealt heroin in and around Newark.

Tyrone Brown, 34, Lamarr Burwell, 22, and Miles McCloud, 37, all of Newark, and Martin Pettiford, 23, of Irvington, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to ...

Millburn Township Battle Against Proposed Stop & Shop Comes to an End

MILLBURN, NJ --  Alexander McDonald, Millburn Township Business Administrator, announced that the 24-year court battle with Stop & Shop ended with a dismissal before the pending trial commenced. Originally, Millburn Township and the Board of Adjustments faced four separate suits, which was consolidated into one case for trial. 

McDonald stated: "This has been a ...

Commemoration of Jay Kielwasser, Union Animal Control Officer

March 17, 2018

UNION, NJ – A commemoration of the late Jay Kielwasser's work as Union’s Animal Control Officer took place at Wednesday evening’s Board of Health meeting.

Board President Jackie Carter said Kielwasser, who passed away in April, was the first Animal Control officer appointed by the Board of Health. 

“You really don’t know how someone ...

Springfield Residents Cope as Power Slowly Returns

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - As of Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. Springfield is showing outage of 2,677 or 25 percent, which is down from over 40 percent in the last two hours. It is also down from 68 percent at the peak. Union County at this point is over 20 percent of JCP&L’s statewide outages. Trucks are visible on Township streets with a caravan spotted on ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace - March 16 to March 22

March 16, 2018

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:

Litofish Sardines $5.99ea (Ashley Fish Market)
Total Fage Yogurt 4/$5
Aviv Passover Matzos 2/$7
Ground Beef $3.99lb (Meat)
Roasted Vegetables $7.99lb (Prep Food)
President Brie $6.99lb (Cheese)
Iceberg Lettuce $1.99
Serrano Ham $14.99lb (Deli)
Turkey Hill Ice Cream ...

SOMA Film Festival Starts Friday Night, March 16

The 3rd annual SOMA Film Festival is finishing up the final touches before they kickoff this weekend's event at The Woodland, Bow Tie Cinemas in South Orange, and Maplewood Theater.  

With 16 screening programs there is something for everyone. The popular Kids Program is back for two engagements with both sold out as is the Opening Night Party and Screening. 

Tickets are still ...

West Orange Elementary Teacher Succumbs to Injuries Following Accident

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Washington Elementary School first-grade teacher Patricia Villarosa, 64, of West Orange, died on Friday at University Hospital after being struck by a car on Pleasant Valley Way on Feb. 26.

Villarosa was on her way to the West Orange Board of Education meeting at the time and was struck while crossing Pleasant Valley Way near West Orange High School. The driver, a 55-year-old ...