HALL: James F. Watt, orthopedic surgeon, specializes in Spiderman rescues

Laura Hall, Under the Radar
Aiden Roger Powell (aka Spiderman) with Dr. Watt.

Who you gonna call in Destin when Spiderman gets a broken arm? Try 863-2153 and ask for Dr. James Watt.

I dislocated my little finger and was waiting in my private room for Dr. Watt to have a look.

I heard this high-pitched, animated voice across the hall from me — that of a boy who sounded in pretty good spirits. As we are waiting our turn for the doc, I walk across the hall to see what is going on.

There sits daddy, Rodney Powell, cardiologist, and mom, Pauline Powell, a teacher of nurses at Northwest Florida State College. Sitting with them was the cutest 4-year-old

Spiderman I have ever seen. His left arm is bandaged carefully. Precocious Aiden Roger Powell of Indian Woods subdivision in Destinis talking 90 miles an hour to his parents.

He reassures them both that his arm will be much better as soon as he gets a vanilla ice cream cone on the way home. I ask Aiden what happened to his arm. He is quick to tell me that he was jumping on the trampoline and thinking he could be like Spiderman and stick on the wall. So he jumped as high as he could and soared off.

After coming down there was nothing left to do but pay a visit to Dr. James F. Watt, who recently came to our area after being recruited by Dr. Mark Tenholder of Orthopaedic Associates.

I ask Dr Watt, “What was it that convinced you and Lara to come here?" Dr. Watt responds, “It was serendipity. We never heard of Destin and had to look it up on the map. It seemed a smaller town than we wanted, but we both fell in love with the beautiful beaches. So here we are for the last seven months, living in Walton County with our dogs, Max, a Viszla, and Marley, a Heinz 57 rescue dog, enjoying the sand and the sea.”

Dr. Watt is the only physician in our area who is fellowship trained in hand and upper extremities, surgery and pediatric work. He has all the right credentials starting with undergraduate work at University of Northern Iowa, Medical School at Des Moines University, five years residency in Columbus, Ohio, and a one year fellowship at the Orthopaedic Institute in Tampa. Sounds like he should be about 60 years old.

While living in Columbus, Dr. Watt met and married the woman of his dreams, Lara. They now live in Miramar Beach and Lara is a pharmacist for Target. First child is expected the end of April. I asked the proverbial question, “Expecting a boy or girl?” I totally loved this most unusual answer, “We don’t know… I wanted the surprise. One true time in life to be surprised and this is it!” What an exciting wait for these two, or three, or four…

After all the years of training, he can deal with traumatic injury requiring amputation, reconstructive surgery, shoulder surgery caused by bad breaks or arthritis that has become so bad that it requires shoulder replacement. Dr. Watt has been trained to handle small joint replacement in the hand due to arthritic destruction of the joint cartilage.

“I have been very fortunate to have lots of great patients that no longer have to travel one to 2 hours away for this type of surgery," said Watt, who sees patients in Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Niceville.

Other new and exciting things going on at Orthpaedic Associates is the custom design knee replacement. It is new technology called “Get-Around-Knee,” and no one else in the area uses this type of knee replacement. Today, you can get it custom designed for the patient, not off the shelf, one size fits all — but an individual design for each individual patient.

I ask what he does in his leisure time, if there is any, and Dr. Watt says, “I have been working with South Walton High School as the team physician, covering all student athletes. Lara and I are both enjoying the various restaurants. Some of our favorites are Harbor Docks where we enjoy the sushi, Dewey Destin’s great smoked tuna and Jordano's Pizza on 98 in Miramar Beach.”

Don’t forget, Lara is now eating for two, or three, or four? And who knows, they may be getting their very own Spiderman. I hope Dr. Watt will let us know when the baby arrives.

Laura Hall is a longtime gardener and Destin resident. She explores area gardens and other local topics with her cavalier spaniel Annie. If you would like to show off your garden or be profiled in a future column, contact Laura at hall-destin@cox.net.