A passion for helping others, an interest in science and a knack for carpentry led Westhampton Beach resident Harvey Manes to exchange his woodworking tools for a different set—ones you would find at the hands of a surgeon.Dr. Manes, 65, who is celebrating his 40th anniversary in medicine this year, explained on Tuesday that the two aren’t all that different.
“It’s really carpentry,” he said on Tuesday, of orthopedic surgery. “I just fell into it.”
Originally from Brooklyn, Dr. Manes graduated from high school a year early and received his undergraduate degree from Binghamton University, then called Harpur College, at 19 years old. While he was attending SUNY Downstate Medical Center, the United States was engulfed in the Vietnam War. He was fortunate enough to be assigned a high number, 361, in the draft lottery, paving the way for him to become the youngest orthopedic surgeon ever to be board-certified in the nation.
“They used to call me the boy surgeon,” he recalled.
He began his career in orthopedic surgery as the field was evolving. Rather than fusing joints, leaving patients immobilized, medical researchers had developed ankle and elbow prostheses. Dr. Manes was the first surgeon in the tri-state area to perform a total ankle and elbow replacement.
He has maintained an office in Lindenhurst since 1978, and still performs surgeries part-time. He also served as an instructor of orthopedic surgery for more than 20 years at Downstate Medical Center and taught resident physicians at Nassau County University Hospital.
Thinking back on his career, Dr. Manes said he was proud to have performed surgeries that dramatically changed individuals’ lives. He recalled helping babies who were born with foot deformities, correcting their problems so they could walk and live normal lives.
“I think helping people gives important meaning to your life,” he said.
The surgeon, who has four children, explained that he was pleased to see arthroscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that involves small incisions, become more prevalent in medicine. He also explained that early on in his career in Brooklyn, he treated many patients with chronic diseases or infections. Those ailments have become less frequent, while joint replacements and arthritis have become more common.
In his spare time, Dr. Manes saw a need for a pain relief cream without the negative side effects and strong odor of others on the market. A few years ago, using multiple herbal remedies, he established Dr. Harvey’s Orthopedic Total Pain Relieving Cream, which is now for sale at www.drharveyscream.com, as well as on Amazon.
In another effort to help others, he founded the Manes-American Peace Prize, a philanthropic endeavor that provides millions in funding to various organizations, including the New York Botanical Garden, the Jewish Museum of New York and Crime Stoppers of Suffolk County.
An avid art collector and sculptor, as well as a self-described hippie, Dr. Manes explained that he attended the original Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969, and has donated to the Woodstock Museum and the Woodstock Film Festival, organizations that he said are devoted to peace. “What’s really important is promoting peace in the world,” he said.
When asked when he expects to retire, the doctor replied with a simple, “Never.”