Building on its mission to serve those in need, and its orthopedic excellence, Catholic Health facility Kenmore Mercy Hospital, along with Dr. John Repicci, are joining Operation Walk USA to provide a needy patient with a free joint replacement surgery this year.
Operation Walk USA is a nationwide effort dedicated to improving the lives and mobility of uninsured patients. It provides all aspects of treatment - surgery, hospitalization and pre-and post-operative care - at no cost to participating patients. In 2013, orthopedic surgeons at 70 hospitals in 32 states collectively provided free joint replacements to nearly 500 individuals.
The 2014 event is scheduled for Dec. 1-6.
In 2013, Melvin Bluhm, 57, of Orchard Park, was chosen as a recipient of Operation Walk USA's surgery at Kenmore Mercy (the only hospital in Western New York to participate in the initiative). Bluhm, who previously worked as a HAZMAT specialist in the railroad industry, suffered from a deteriorated hip. Without insurance, he suffered with pain and had been using a cane or a walker to get around.
Today, Bluhm walks comfortably with no assistive devices. As part of Operation Walk USA, all aspects of his treatment were provided at no cost.
"Regardless of circumstances, people in need should have relief from debilitating joint conditions and receive a new lease on life," Repicci said. "This is the essence of Operation Walk USA."
Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the U.S., affecting approximately 48 million Americans - or more than 21 percent of the adult population. The debilitating pain of end-stage hip or knee degenerative disease often makes working, or completing even the simplest of daily tasks, excruciatingly painful or impossible. Knee and hip replacement surgeries are the most cost-effective and successful of all orthopedic procedures, eliminating pain and allowing patients to resume active, productive lives.
While more than 1 million hip and knee replacements are performed in the U.S. each year, countless men and women continue to live with severe arthritic pain and immobility because they cannot afford joint replacement surgery.
Interested patients should call 716-447-6102 to see if they qualify. If medically eligible for this procedure, patients would be referred to a screening process where they will meet with a financial counselor, receive a series of radiologic exams and, if appropriate, meet with Repicci.
To learn more, visit http://www.opwalkusa.com/.