On Fourth of July, Patient Thanks Orthopedic Surgeon for Restoring Her Independence
(New York, NY. July 26, 2017.) On July 4, Independence Day, Susan decided to write a letter to her orthopedic surgeon, thanking him for restoring her own independence. Dr. Geoffrey Westrich had performed her hip replacement a few months earlier at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City, and she was delighted with the outcome.
A teacher from Westchester, New York, she wanted to express her gratitude for Dr. Westrich's kindness and support. "I am writing this note to thank you for making my right hip replacement a most successful and amazing experience," she said in her letter. She also had high praise for the staff at Hospital for Special Surgery.
Susan had decided to have hip replacement due to intense arthritis pain that kept her up at night and made it difficult for her to do the job she loved. It not only hurt to walk, but was a real challenge to go up and down stairs. "When you have a group of students you need to bring to another classroom, it isn't possible to take the elevator," she explained.
She had tried physical therapy, but after 25 sessions and little pain relief, she thought it was time to make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. With referrals to Dr. Westrich from not one, but three people who had previous joint replacement surgery with him, she felt comfortable that she would be in good hands.
Susan benefited from a less invasive hip replacement. Thanks to newer instrumentation, orthopedic surgeons can now often perform the surgery with a 3 to 4-inch incision, whereas in the past the incision usually measured 10 to 12 inches. She also received a newer "dual mobility" hip implant, which offers improved stability, a lower risk of dislocation and better range of motion, according to Dr. Westrich, who is research director of Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement at Hospital for Special Surgery.
In her letter, Susan said she knew exactly what to expect before surgery and was impressed with the attention she received by everyone at HSS. "The hospital experience was everything I could have hoped for and more - from check-in to the recovery room staff and PT personnel as well as the most kind and supportive nurses on the 10th floor…every single person made me feel like they were there to make my experience successful and comfortable."
She credits Dr. Westrich with her quick recovery. "I can't even imagine a better surgery experience… you were so calm and confident and reassuring before and after surgery. You truly deserve the reputation that precedes you… It's now almost my 11th week post surgery and I still can't believe how well I'm walking and moving around in general. The outpatient PT person is really impressed with my recovery."
Dr. Westrich is delighted that she is doing so well. "It's really gratifying to receive a letter like this from a patient," he says. "We strive to provide patient care of the highest caliber, to understand each individual's needs, and to allay any concerns a patient may have. A letter like this one shows that we are doing our job and achieving our goals."
"Very few people remember to say thank you, and I felt I should acknowledge Dr. Westrich and everyone who took care of me,"Susan says.
With her hip pain gone, she's looking forward to taking a couple of trips this summer. Come September, she'll go back to work. With her hip pain gone, stairs won't be a problem in the coming school year.