NEW YORK, NY – Nearly forty years after being diagnosed with a crippling pediatric hip disorder, 51-year-old Arthur Shaw from New Jersey finally received free life-changing surgery last week to treat a limp and debilitating pain which has kept him from fully living his life thanks to a thoughtful friend and a non-profit organization committed to restoring mobility for people suffering from disabling arthritis of the hip or knee regardless of their ability to pay.
As a teen, Arthur was an athlete – a catcher for his high school baseball team, as well as an avid skier and golfer – but throughout the years the pain had gotten so bad that he could no longer stand with both feet flat on the ground and often ended up standing on his tip toes. Due to his condition, he had been unable to fully participate in family activities and do certain parts of his job as an auto mechanic. Unfortunately, Arthur has no insurance and could not afford to pay for the expensive surgery out of pocket.
Luckily for him, a close friend, Stephen Thuilot, whom Arthur refers to as his “Angel on Earth,” heard about a national organization called Operation Walk USA, which partners with orthopedic surgeons to provide free hip and knee replacements for disabled people who lack insurance coverage, don’t qualify for government assistance and can’t afford surgery on their own. Stephen secretly submitted an application on Arthur’s behalf and surprised him with his acceptance into the program just in time for the holidays.
Arthur’s surgery was performed by Lenox Hill Hospital orthopedic surgeon Matthew Hepinstall, MD, who donated his time and skills to the program for the second consecutive year. “It can be humbling for active adults in the middle part of their life not to be able to be productive,” said Dr. Hepinstall. “The reality is that this is an operation that almost everyone who goes through it says ‘why did I wait so long, why did I suffer, why was I so afraid?’ It is a big operation – it’s not without risk – but the outcomes are typically excellent and patients really have their lives transformed.”
Post-surgery, Arthur was tremendously grateful to his friend, Dr. Hepinstall and Lenox Hill Hospital and very excited to get the opportunity to live a pain-free, active life again. “I’m feeling anxious – I can’t wait to get to a normal quality of life,” he said. “I want to participate in the family functions again, play sports, just enjoy my time with my family.”
About Operation Walk
Operation Walk USA focuses on helping those impacted by arthritic disease, the most common cause of disability in the United States which affects approximately 46 million Americans or more than 21 percent of the adult population. The program, which is entering its sixth season and has helped nearly 600 patients to date, takes place annually the first week of December. It covers all aspects of treatment – surgery, hospitalization, and pre- and post-operative care. This year, 80 patients received free joint replacements from 55 volunteer orthopedic surgeons at 40 hospitals across the country.
Lenox Hill Hospital is a member of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, which is becoming Northwell Health in January 2016. Lenox Hill is a 652-bed, fully accredited, acute care hospital located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. US News & World Report has ranked the hospital among the top 10 hospitals in the state of New York with a total of six “high performing” designations for its clinical performance in Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, Orthopedics and Urology. It is also recognized nationally as a leader in maternal/child health and offers a wide range of services in radiology, and medical and surgical specialties. For more information, go to www.lenoxhillhospital.org.