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It was routine, like any other day. Park the car in the garage, walk up the steps into the house, but then Dr. Frank Sessoms tripped.

“My leg slipped under the cast-iron railing and was caught,” he said. “I tried to hold myself up by my arm, but I couldn’t get my leg out. I had to let go, and when I fell I knew I’d broken my hip.”


That was March 10. On April 19, Sessoms officially closed his office. He said he plans to reopen it, but his doctors have told him he cannot bear any weight for three months.

Sessoms was initially evaluated at Allegheny General Hospital, then moved to West Penn Hospital for surgery to stabilize his hip. Though successful, Sessoms is still receiving in-patient treatment for the deep cut to his leg caused by the railing.

“After I fell, I felt my pants and coat pocket were wet, then I saw the blood,” he said. “I was there for a while. But I was lucky I left the garage door open. I kept yelling for help, saying, ‘call 911.’ My wife couldn’t hear me at the other end of the house, but a neighbor was walking his dog and his wife called. But I’m okay. I’m getting better, but I have a long way to go.”

But because of the long recovery ahead, Sessoms has been forced to close his practice, which means he’s had to lay off his two staffers. Sessoms has served Pittsburgh’s medical needs for more than 30 years. After graduating from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., in 1974, he served as an intern and resident at UPMC St. Margaret’s Hospital before opening his own office in East Liberty.

“My office manager has been copying records for three weeks,” he said. “My practice involves a lot of pain management work, but that’s something few other doctors want to do. So, we’re trying to help patients find another place to go.”

Office manager Lenicia Brentley said even though the office is closed, she is answering calls and processing records.

“Patients can continue to call the office number, 412-361-7200. Calls will be forwarded to me and I will still have access to the records,” she said. “It’s been very stressful trying to meet the needs of patients and worrying about what I’m going to do for work.”

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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