Susan Murray will be walking pain-free and enjoying other activities in the new year thanks to a free knee replacement performed by Lenox Hill Hospital through Operation Walk USA, a project that gives free knee and hip replacement surgeries for local residents who are uninsured and under-insured.
The Fifty-one-year-old Freehold, NJ resident and single mother of three grown children has suffered with connective tissue disease since her early 20’s and has experienced a steady decline in her mobility. She is in desperate need of a total knee replacement surgery. Susan has been unemployed for the past year.
Susan used to enjoy of so many of life’s experiences – from sports to everyday physical activity -- and even the simple tasks of getting around an office, a grocery aisle or traveling on business. She now uses a cane or walker and pulls herself up the stairs backwards.
And so, without her knowing it, her eldest daughter Kelly and her own circle of current and childhood friends started writing to programs that provided free orthopaedic care. When Operation Walk USA (OWUSA) learned of Susan’s story she was soon introduced to OWUSA’s Executive Committee member, Giles R. Scuderi, MD, orthopaedic surgeon specializing in knee arthroplasty, and vice president of the orthopaedic service line at North Shore LIJ in New York. She qualified for surgery and underwent a double knee replacement on Tuesday, December 3 at Lenox Hill Hospital.
“The best thing about Operation Walk USA is that it brought the medical staff and hospital together as a team with the intention of making a difference in the patients’ lives, who would otherwise not be able to afford such care,” Dr. Scuderi said. “Knowing that the quality of their lives is going to be better is so rewarding for everyone.”
“It is a miracle and he is my angel,” Susan said of Dr. Scuderi. With a birthday on December 8 and the holidays around the corner, she can’t imagine a better gift than one that will return her to a quality of life.
Her daughter Kelly, who started the chain of communication, is getting married in early 2015 and has always hoped her mom could dance at her wedding. Susan should be able to do just that.
Dr. Scuderi will also be performing a free total knee revision on a patient at Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream this year. This is the third year Franklin Hospital is participating in Operation Walk USA.
Operation Walk USA is a national medical humanitarian organization founded in 2011 that provides free hip and knee replacement surgeries for patients suffering from disabling arthritis who are under or uninsured, which limits their access to such procedures. This year, Operation Walk USA has 109 orthopedic surgeons participating nationwide; they will be performing free surgeries on more than 200 patients in 29 states. Although more than one million knee and hip replacements are performed in the U.S. each year, many who could benefit from the surgery continue to live in pain because they can’t afford it.