NEW YORK, NY – A local disabled man is getting the gift of mobility this holiday season thanks to a free hip replacement at Lenox Hill Hospital through Operation Walk USA, an organization that provides free hip and knee replacements to patients who are uninsured or under-insured.
“I’m the luckiest man in the world because I’m going to be able to walk again without pain and resume my life,” said Dean Horowitz, 58, of Roslyn Heights, NY. “This program saved me.”
Mr. Horowitz has a history of arthritis and has been suffering from severe chronic pain in his left hip for many years, eventually developing a limp and a progressive loss of mobility. Everyday tasks, such as bending down, getting in and out of the car, sitting for extended periods of time and even tying his shoes, had become almost impossible. His walking was limited to the point that he could only move very slowly, wobbling almost like a penguin.
His condition has prevented him from working and he has no insurance coverage. He had been working at an auto glass company, but that went out of business after Hurricane Sandy. He had been delaying treatment and has had to deal with persistent daily pain, which had greatly deteriorated his quality of life.
When Mr. Horowitz’s fiancee saw an ad for North Shore-LIJ’s Operation Walk program on TV and urged him to call, he was hopeful but never expected to be chosen. He qualified for surgery and had the procedure on Dec. 10 at Lenox Hill Hospital, performed by Matthew Hepinstall, MD. The patient says the day he was selected for the program was the luckiest day of his life and compares it to winning the lottery.
“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing people who are suffering having improvement in their quality of life,” said Dr. Hepinstall, and orthopedic surgeon affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC and Franklin Hospital in Long Island, both part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. “When somebody has been suffereing for a long time and hasn’t had access to the type of care that’s routine to me, it’s really a blessing for me to be able to be a part of giving that care.”
According to Dr. Hepinstall, Mr. Horowitz should be able to walk within a day of the surgery, first with a walker or crutches then with a cane or single crutch. The majority of hip replacement patients are able to walk on their own within four to six weeks. Besides walking and performing daily tasks pain-free, he is excited to be able to ride a bicycle once he recovers.
Dr. Hepinstall performed a total of three hip replacement surgeries for Operation Walk this year: two at Lenox Hill Hospital and one at Franklin Hospital. This is the second year Lenox Hill is participating in the program
Operation Walk USA is a non-profit coalition of 85 orthopedic surgeons in 23 states volunteering to operate on patients who do not quality for government assistance but cannot afford surgery on their own. Pre- and post-operation services, like physical therapy, are also free of charge. Implants are donated by device manufacturers, and doctors, nurses and technicians volunteer their time and skill. 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.
About Lenox Hill Hospital:
Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, 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 nation’s top 50 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery and among the top 10 hospitals in the state of New York with a total of 11 “high performing” designations for its clinical performance in Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. For more information, go to www.lenoxhillhospital.org.