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Meet Dr. Brian Kurcz, orthopedic surgeon

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Dr. Brian Kurcz and his family

It’s not every day that an electrical engineer decides to become a doctor. But that was the path for Dr. Brian Kurcz, an orthopedic surgeon with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic in Manitowoc.

“I worked as an engineer for almost five years,” Kurcz says. “And what I really wanted to do was pursue lifelong learning, continuing my education and sharing knowledge with peers.”

Kurcz’s former company relied on intellectual property to do business, so sharing knowledge outside of its walls was forbidden.

“There's always something new you can learn from someone else. Or there's something you can share that you've done that may help others,” Kurcz says.

Learning medicine seemed like a great fit for meeting his need for a challenge.

“Orthopedics and engineering kind of go hand in hand,” Kurcz says. “I think there’s a strong correlation between engineering principles and how you fix orthopedic problems. The joints are a mechanical part of the body.”

To make his career change, Kurcz started taking the undergraduate courses he’d need to apply to medical school while still working full time as an engineer. Eventually, he quit his day job to attend Chicago Medical School full time. After earning his medical degree, Kurcz chose to focus on orthopedics and sports medicine during his residency and fellowship training.

“I was pretty set on orthopedics,” Kurcz says. “I shadowed an orthopedic surgeon that I knew through a friend of mine.”

In addition to general orthopedics, Kurcz takes special interest in caring for athletes who have had sports injuries, providing services such as ligament reconstruction, meniscus repairs, and cartilage restoration.

Helping his patients improve their quality of life, no matter how small or big that improvement may be, keeps Kurcz fulfilled.

“I don’t do it because it makes me feel good to fix something,” Kurcz says. “It makes me feel good to see how well patients do and how happy they are afterwards.”

Kurcz describes himself as approachable and unassuming, ready to work hand in hand with his patients.

“I try to work together with them to find a solution and build a plan that they feel comfortable with and understand,” Kurcz says.

These characteristics are useful in his personal life, too. Kurcz and his wife have twin boys who are eager to learn and explore with help from mom and dad.

“I really love spending time with my boys,” Kurcz says. “We go on adventures, ride our bikes together and go to the park. It’s fun to watch them figure things out.”

Another of Kurcz’s passions is restoring his family’s historic home. It was built in 1905 by C.C. West, one of the founders of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co.

“I've been doing a lot of it myself,” Kurcz says. “I enjoy working. I’m always moving and doing something. I'd rather be doing something than sitting around.”

Kurcz and his wife are happy to settle into life in Manitowoc. It’s close enough to their families in Chicago and small enough to build connections within the community.

“In a larger city, you don’t get to make those same connections to see how everyone kind of fits into the small town and who they know,” Kurcz says. “It’s really nice to feel like you’re taking care of a community rather than just a singular patient.”

Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2024