Meet Kathleen J. Maguire, MD, an attending pediatric orthopaedic surgeon with the Division of Orthopaedics and the Sports Medicine and Performance Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Dr. Maguire joined CHOP in 2019 and specializes in treating children and adolescents with sports injuries. She has a particular interest in working with performance athletes, including dancers, gymnasts and figure skaters.
Her interest in pediatric orthopaedics stems from childhood when she was diagnosed with scoliosis at 8 years old and treated in a brace for nearly a decade. Despite her condition, Dr. Maguire was very active in sports and dance – performing through college and later dancing professionally with Walt Disney World Entertainment before attending medical school. Her personal experience – as both a patient and performance athlete – has informed her medical and surgical practice.
Dr. Maguire earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Evolutionary Biology from Harvard College in Massachusetts before attending medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. She completed a residency in orthopaedic surgery at Montefiore Medical Center, then two fellowships in orthopaedic sports medicine (Boston Children’s Hospital) and pediatric orthopaedic surgery (A.I. duPont Hospital for Children).
Dr. Maguire recently sat down for an informal Q&A to discuss a wide variety of topics, including how her experience as a performance athlete helps her relate to young athletes, why tailoring care to the individual patient matters, and why she is committed to helping every patient return to their optimal functioning.
Q: What do you like most about working with children with orthopaedic conditions?
A. Working with children is the most challenging and yet the most fun thing I could ask for in my career. Children are unique in the way that they not only sustain and recover from injuries, but in the way they process and grow from these experiences. I think kids are just remarkable and I am humbled to be able to play a role in their stories.
Q: What’s your advice to families coming to CHOP?
A. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions! My favorite role as a doctor is in teaching my patient and their family about their condition or injury and the various tools that we have at our disposal to best care for them. Each child is different, and treatment is not “one size fits all.” It is so important for patients and families to share their concerns, vocalize their goals and ask questions. This way, care can be tailored to the needs of your child and family.
Q: Is there a specific condition or treatment that interests you from a research or clinical perspective?
A. A large portion of my work is with pediatric and adolescent athletes, in particular performance athletes. I enjoy focusing on overuse injuries and injury prevention.
Q: Why did you decide to specialize in orthopaedics?
A. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 8. I was treated by an incredible orthopedic surgeon who truly shaped my path in life. With my interest in math, science and biomechanics, it felt like a natural fit. I was fascinated by the field and had wonderful mentors along the way, so I never looked back! I love working with my hands and being able to positively impact the lives of my patients.
Q: As a female orthopaedic surgeon, what unique perspective do you think you offer patients – particularly adolescent girls?
A. While orthopedics has traditionally been a male-dominated field, I am thrilled to bring a different perspective to the table. As an active kid and performance athlete, I know the demands that are placed on adolescent girls, in particular, and I hope to connect with my patients due to our shared experiences.
Q: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
A. I would love to be able to travel through time. I think there is a lot to learn from where we have come from, and I’d love to get a sneak peek about where we’re going.
Q: If you weren’t a doctor, what do you think you’d be doing?
A. I would either be an astronaut or a Disney Imagineer. Maybe I’ll use my time traveling abilities to do all three!
Q: What’s your favorite children’s book?
A. Originally from Massachusetts, my favorite book is a local classic: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. It’s about a pair of mallards who raise their ducklings on an island in the lagoon in Boston Public Garden.
Q: What do you do for fun in your free time?
A. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, as well as my dog Walter. If that time can be outdoors, then it’s even better! We love to ski, hike and bike.
Why did you choose to work at CHOP?
A. I chose to work at CHOP not only because it is recognized as one of the best institutions in the country, but because the people that comprise that institution are incredible to work with. I am a big believer in teams, and I know nothing can be accomplished without the work of a great team, and that’s exactly what we have at CHOP. Everyone brings their experience, expertise and passion to work with them every day. Great teams inspire you to do your best: I strive to be better by surrounding myself with the absolute best.
Q: What do you wish your pediatric patients knew about you?
A. I treat my patients like family. I am committed to your success. While I enjoy seeing my patients succeed and cross that finish line, I am most invested in the moments where they may hit a few bumps along their way and my support can make a difference in their recovery.