Mount Carmel New Albany Hosts Operation Walk Reunion|
Program Provides the Uninsured with Access to Joint Replacements
Columbus – Millions of Americans suffer from painful joint problems and may end up one day needing a joint replacement. However, many people go without the surgery because they might not have the financial capacity to afford the procedure. Adolph Lombardi, Jr., MD and Keith Berend, MD, of Joint Implant Surgeons, Inc. joined with Mount Carmel nearly two years ago to help change that by providing these life changing surgeries at no cost to uninsured and underinsured working poor in central Ohio.
“Unfortunately, there are a number of patients who simply cannot afford to have a hip or knee replacement. This is our opportunity to share our talent and to restore these patients to a pain free lifestyle,” said Dr. Lombardi. “There is no better reward than the smile on the faces of these patients. Their gratitude is beyond anyone’s expectations.”
The effort, which started at Mount Carmel New Albany, has become a nationwide program called Operation Walk USA. Operation Walk USA is the collaborative effort between three orthopedic organizations and 49 participating hospitals involving an incredible 109 surgeons and 206 patients in 29 states.
Richard Conroy is among Operation Walk USA’s many success stories. Richard moved to Columbus from Youngstown shortly after selling his business. He lived for a year off the profits but needed to find a job while suffering from a bad knee which caused him constant pain. Without a job, Richard wasn’t able to afford knee replacement surgery. With a constant limp, he struggled to find work because people didn’t think he’d be physically up to the challenge. Out of work, with no health insurance and a greatly declining knee, he needed help, and needed it fast. In 2011, Operation Walk provided him a chance at a new start with a right knee replacement.
“I am extremely grateful that I was able to participate in the [Operation Walk] program. While I was working part-time before the surgery, I have been able to go back to work full-time afterward. It has been a real blessing to be able to get to do that,” Richard said.
He is scheduled to undergo a left knee replacement on Dec. 7, 2012. That same day more than a dozen other Operation Walk patients met for the second Operation Walk reunion at Mount Carmel New Albany. The event offered a chance to celebrate the success of the program and the ongoing efforts of Mount Carmel to fulfill its mission of serving the community.