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Media Coverage

Pandemic Does Not Stop Dad from Hip Replacement So He Can Dance When Daughter Weds

November 11, 2020

John Schieck wanted to dance at his daughter’s wedding in Colorado, and he wasn’t going to let the pandemic stop him. But his severely arthritic hip was another matter. So, when the Long Island resident learned he could schedule hip replacement surgery in June at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), he did not hesitate. Last year, he had a knee replacement at HSS, and he went to see his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Geoffrey Westrich, for a regular follow-up exam in May of this year. Mr. Schieck’s knee was fine, but his hip pain and gotten much worse. He had trouble sleeping at night and found himself limping at work.

On June 11, Mr. Schieck, who is 65, had hip replacement surgery. On July 31, he and wife took a flight to Colorado. On August 8, he danced with his daughter at her wedding. “My hip pain was gone. I danced with my daughter, my wife, my friends. I was a ‘dancing machine’,” he recalls.

When elective surgery resumed in New York State in early June, many people whose joint replacement had been put on hold were relieved it could be rescheduled, according to Dr. Westrich, director of research in the Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement Service at HSS. But others are still nervous about the pandemic and reluctant to set foot in a hospital or doctor’s office. 

“HSS has instituted extensive precautions to ensure that patients, visitors and staff remain safe,” said Geoffrey Westrich, MD. “The hospital has taken extraordinary measures that start with screening everyone at the door before they even walk into the hospital, including employees, patients and visitors.”

Mr. Schieck, himself a high-level hospital administrator in Queens, said he was impressed by the precautions he saw at HSS to safeguard everyone’s health. “If you know about the quality of work they do at HSS, you know you’ll be safe,” he says. “I was in a huge waiting room with only a handful of patients, so there was plenty of room for social distancing. There were spots on the floor in the large elevators showing where to stand and limiting the number of occupants, and there were even arrows showing you which way to face. Somebody gave a lot of thought to safety at HSS, and it gave me a good comfort level.”

Mr. Schieck went home the day after his hip replacement and was able to do his rehab remotely online, one-on-one, with a physical therapist from HSS. “It worked out great. He could see me doing the exercises to make sure I was doing them correctly,” Mr. Schieck explains.

Dr. Westrich says it’s a shame that people who need medical attention may not be getting it because they’re uneasy about going to the doctor. “The pandemic has presented challenges, and it’s stressful for everyone,” Dr. Westrich says. “It shouldn’t be exacerbated by arthritis or other pain that makes people feel even worse during these trying times. We encourage people to take care of their health concerns now, so they don’t get worse later on.” 

For information on how HSS is keeping everyone safe and what to expect during your visit or surgery, visit:

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