DocTalk Series:
Dr. Smith and Officer Norman

Officer Tommy M. Norman is a police officer in North Little Rock. His Facebook page, which he uses to showcase his work in the community, has become a national phenomenon—it’s followed by over two million fans.


After hearing a “pop” in his knee during a game of kickball, Officer Norman was worried. He had spent two decades of his life being a public servant, walking the streets with the people of his community and learning their stories. He’d never had an injury like this before. What would this mean for his career?

“This is the first serious injury I’ve ever sustained.  I was scared. But the kindness from Arkansas Surgical Hospital made all of that a lot more comfortable.” – Officer Tommy Norman, Knee Surgery

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joel Smith determined that Officer Norman had torn his ACL and meniscus.  He knew that the ACL tear could keep Officer Norman from doing what he needed to do: serving North Little Rock and its people.  He couldn’t risk his leg giving out on him while he was on duty.

“That’s the last thing we want to have happen—you trying to help someone and not being able to depend on your leg, and not being able to do your job,” Dr. Smith told Officer Norman.

Dr. Smith laid it out for him: if Officer Norman wanted to get back on the streets with the same regularity, the only option was surgery.  Officer Norman had worried that might be the case, but with Dr. Smith’s thorough explanations, he was able to feel more confident that it was the right decision for his health, his career, and his community.

“He explained to me that everything was going to be okay.  He put a lot of confidence into me and my future,” Officer Norman said.

Dr. Smith decided to perform Officer Norman’s surgery at Arkansas Surgical Hospital.

“I chose Arkansas Surgical Hospital for a lot of reasons,” Dr. Smith said.  “Everyone there—you’re their priority.  Taking good care of you, reassuring you, all the way through from the time you hit the front door till the time you go out the back door to go home.  That’s the thing that I like most about that hospital: no matter what phase of care you’re in, you’re that person’s priority at that time.”

Dr. Smith was proud to help Officer Norman get back out there again.  “Patients having a good outcome is one thing, and that’s what we all strive to have—great outcomes,” he said.  “But to help Officer Norman get back to doing what he just means everything to me.”

Officer Norman was nervous about the surgery.  But his experience at Arkansas Surgical Hospital was comfortable, and he was grateful to have Dr. Smith encouraging him throughout the process.

“This is the first serious injury I’ve ever sustained.  I was scared,” Officer Norman admitted.  “But the kindness from Arkansas Surgical Hospital made all of that a lot more comfortable.”  

Officer Norman recalls Dr. Smith telling him, “Tommy, you will be back out there again doing what you love to do.”  And Dr. Smith was right.

“The life I’ve always lived—I was able to resume that life,” Officer Norman said.  Now, he’s back on the streets of North Little Rock, building stronger relationships with the people of the community.

If you’re experiencing joint pain, don’t wait.  Call our Referral Help Line at (800) 901-0307 for help scheduling an appointment with one of Arkansas Surgical Hospital’s skilled orthopedic surgeons.

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