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Patient Spotlight

Patient Comments

All In A Day's Work for St. Joseph's Orthopedic Services

When a patient is discharged from St. Joseph's he or she may randomly be selected to receive a patient satisfaction survey from us, through our survey partner, Press Ganey and Associates. When a patient writes a comment on his or her survey it is logged into the computer at Press Ganey and sent to us for our information. We highly value the comments of our patients and we follow up on their concerns and compliments. Nine out of 10 patients surveyed would recommend St. Joseph's orthopedic services to a friend or family member. Below are a few more of the many positive comments our staff have received.

  • "I’ve seen a number of hospital stays for myself and others and this was far and away the best treatment I’ve ever seen from the moment of check-in through discharge.  Very special thanks to the complete nursing staff, but especially Melinda, Stacey, Joanne and Cassandra (she’ll be a great nurse).  Thank you all so very much for making a difficult time bearable. Not that I want another hospital stay, but if I do, I demand St. Joseph’s."
  • "I could not have asked for better care.  Everyone was just super.  The staff was very friendly and caring."
  • "I experienced quick response time when I needed assistance.  Staff went out of their way (110%) to be friendly, courteous and helpful."
  • "You should be very proud of the wonderful staff.  Everyone was absolutely professional and attentive and friendly.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
  • "St. Joseph's is like a cruise ship hospital."
  • "Every shift was exceptional.  The obvious concern for care is commendable.  Concern for family is also top notch.  Thanks!" 
  • "I was treated like a queen.  The food was better than excellent.  Thank you!" 

Patient comments from outpatient physical therapy; offices are located at Court Street in Syracuse, and Northeast Medical Center in Fayetteville

  • "Thank you for such caring, compassionate, individualized care. It has certainly been very helpful."
  • "Being in the 'M.D. business' for 50 years, I consider myself 'in the family' and can resolutely claim that [my therapist] is a true blessing to her profession, to SJH and to all the patients she so remarkably treats.  She offers the traits, personality, knowledge and 'bedside manners' that relegate her to the very top tiers of her discipline."
  • "My therapist is an excellent therapist. She explained my problem with lymphedema so that I understood well the problem and the therapy required for good results."

Back in the Game After Joint Replacement Surgery

Successful Knee Replacements Seem To Be Par for the Course

At 78, Harold Willard leads a physically active life that includes mowing other people’s lawns and climbing ladders to clean out friends’ gutters—the kinds of things that good neighbors do for each other even if it hurts a little. The turning point for Willard, however, came when the pain in his right knee started affecting his golf game as well as his good deeds.

Orthopedic Services“The pain got so bad that he had to ride in a golf cart, and he hates that,” Willard’s wife, Barbara, says. Willard sought out John F. Parker, MD, a St. Joseph’s orthopedic surgeon, to determine what was happening to what had always been a reliable joint, and whether anything could be done to stem the pain.

Like many other Central New Yorkers treated at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center each year, Willard’s knee had gradually succumbed to decades of stress created by years of work as a pipefitter/steamfitter, and years of play chasing a little white ball around the golf course. The cartilage that normally cushions the joint where the upper leg bone (the femur) meets one of two lower leg bones (the tibia) was gradually worn away, allowing bone to rub on bone. The resulting pain, he discovered, would continue to increase and hamper his mobility.

The alternative was a total knee joint replacement performed by Dr. Parker at St. Joseph’s, where thousands of others have had successful knee, hip and shoulder replacements. It’s an elective surgery, but not one to be taken lightly. While most of the focus is on the 45- to 90-minute surgery itself, there is far more to a successful outcome than what happens in the operating room. Practice makes perfect, and St. Joseph’s has developed, tested and standardized a start-to-finish hospital-wide process aimed at giving patients the best likelihood of enjoying new, trouble-free knees, hips and shoulders.

New Hip Resurfacing Procedure Has Him Back on His Feet and Skis

Stu Gardner from Canton, NY underwent hip resurfacing

As many men seem to do, Stuart Gardner tried to ignore, or at least live with, the pain in his right hip. after all, he was only 47 and still an active outdoorsman and busy consultant working on large projects for utility companies in the northeast.

After walking a hundred yards into the woods, he says he’d be limping like “Festus” in the old Gunsmoke television series, but he’d always been able to press on. He told himself that enough was enough, however, the day he could barely stand after being seated at his desk all day.

"I finally came to the realization that I wasn’t getting any better,” Gardner says from his home in Canton, NY. “I decided to do something about it.”

Orthopedic ServicesGardner essentially had two choices, according to orthopedic surgeon Seth Greenky, MD. He could have traditional hip replacement surgery, or he could try a relatively new procedure called hip resurfacing that seems to work especially well for young, active patients (mostly men) who dread the thought of being forced to give up their active, sometimes strenuous, lifestyle.

“Hip resurfacing has taken off in this country because it allows people to resume their active lifestyles with very few restrictions,” Dr. Greenky says. “After recovery, they can go out and ski if they want to. This is possible because hip resurfacing preserves the femur or thigh bone, unlike a traditional total hip replacement surgery.”

The human hip joint is a ball-and-socket design with the ball at the top of the femur or thighbone. That ball fits into a socket-shaped bone in the pelvis. In traditional hip replacement surgery, the ball-shaped end of the thighbone is removed and a tapered metal stem is literally hammered into the core of the remaining bone.

A metal ball is then attached to the stem and the ball fits into the socket in the pelvis.in hip resurfacing, Dr. Greenky explains, the femur remains whole. Instead of removing the ball-shaped section at the top of the femur, it is trimmed down and shaped so that a metal surface fits securely around it. The resurfaced portion of the femur then fits into the socket as in a regular hip replacement surgery.

The pelvic side of the surgery is essentially the same as a regular hip replacement,” Dr. Greenky says, “but preserving all of the femur has a long-range ben-efit. If the resurfaced joint has to be replaced in 10 or 20 years, then we still have the all of the femur left and we can perform a traditional hip replacement.

The resurfacing also has other benefits. There is a reduced risk of dislocation because the resurfaced ball is larger than the ball in a regular surgery. There also is a greater range of motion.

Stuart Gardner, who had his hip resurfaced a year ago, went skiing this winter, something he probably wouldn’t have risked with a traditional hip replacement.

“I hadn’t skied for six or seven years, so i was careful and stuck to the beginner and intermediate slopes,” Gardner says, “but the fact is I have no restric-tions on my activities. I went hunting last fall, too. I didn’t have any luck, but it was great to be outdoors with no pain.”

For all of its advantages, hip resurfacing is not,  Dr. Greenky says, an option for everyone. It is generally restricted to men under the age of 60, and women over child-bearing age, but still under the age of 50. The  caution to women of child-bearing age is because the metal surfaces rubbing against each other create tiny metal particles that travel through the body and release metal ions. The ions are excreted through the kidneys.

There are no data suggesting that metal ions are harmful, but research still is being done, Dr. Greenky says.

Dr. Greenky also says the resurfacing surgery  takes longer and demands more skill on the part of the surgeon. St. Joseph’s surgeons perform the most total joint replacements of any hospital in Central new York and have been performing resurfacing since 2007.

“And because hip resurfacing is relatively new,  we really don’t know how long the benefits will last,” Dr. Greenky says.

When Gardner’s hip was resurfaced, he entered  St. Joseph’s on a Wednesday morning, had surgery that afternoon and was released from the hospital Friday afternoon.

"I was surprised at the minimal amount of discomfort or pain,” Gardner says, “I didn’t need the pain medications I was given at the hospital, although I was encouraged to take them during the two weeks of physical therapy that followed so i could push myself harder.”

Gardner went back to work the Monday following surgery, although he confined himself to his apartment making conference calls. He was driving his truck after three weeks and his car after that.

“The experience was all pretty positive,” he recalls. “It’s definitely an option that people in my circumstance should consider. It’s good being back to doing the things I enjoy.”