The Urkainian city of Donetsk sits in a war-torn area packed with landmines and where daily life is punctuated with the sound of gunfire. Many residents have fled, many businesses have closed, the local postal service no longer runs and the healthcare and social service systems have completely collapsed.

map of ukraine

This was once the home of Liudmyla Loboda. “I don’t wish for anyone to experience
war, to hear the sound of missiles and feel the building shaking,” she says. Loboda also suffered from chronic pain that was caused by bone-on-bone hip arthritis and was unable to get the hip replacement she so desperately needed. Those painful days are behind Loboda now. She relocated to East Tennessee in 2019, and with help from people she had never met before, Loboda underwent a hip replacement at Parkwest Medical  Center in June of 2020.

Speaking through an interpreter, Loboda, 81, recalls those dark days in Donetsk and the
hopelessness she felt. “The pain became unbearable,” she says. “I started thinking about death more because I could no longer be independent or free of constant pain.” Even getting her monthly pension had become a struggle. With no postal service, Loboda had to travel from her separatist-controlled city to a bank in the Ukrainian territory.  The trip required getting in and out of a bus several times and standing in line for hours as  she went through security checkpoints on both sides of the conflict line.

At the time, she couldn’t walk very far and she couldn’t board a bus without help. Because
there were very few public restrooms, Loboda says many people would wear adult diapers to make it through the day. When she arrived in the United States, Loboda was hopeful that she might finally receive the medical help she needed. Soon she met Conrad Ivie, MD, a hip and knee specialist at Parkwest Medical Center. “When I first saw Dr. Ivie, I immediately felt his warm and positive energy,” Loboda says. “His confidence gave me faith that everything would be fine.” “We heard about her story – that she was here without insurance, had a terrible hip and had to get away from her country because of everything that was going on,” Dr. Ivie says. “She was referred to me because of my anterior hip replacement experience and the fact that it offers a faster recovery and shorter length of stay with hopefully less expense for the family.”

Headshot of Dr. Ivie in suite
Conrad Ivie, MD

But Loboda couldn’t afford the surgery, even with a short hospital stay. Dr. Ivie took matters into his own hands and began to work with a team to give this woman  from a war-torn nation hope for a better future in America. “It came together very rapidly,” Dr. Ivie says. “It was really great how everybody worked together, from Covenant Health, Parkwest administration and physical therapy, all the way to the company that donated the implant for the procedure.” According to Dr. Ivie, Loboda’s condition had deteriorated to a point where the femoral ball  of the hip joint had begun to collapse. Dr. Ivie’s anterior approach was the perfect solution, going in from the front of the hip instead of the side. “The benefit of using an anterior approach is that I don’t cut any muscles” Dr. Ivie says. “There is less pain, it speeds up recovery and lets the patient heal much faster than a traditional hip replacement.”

For Loboda, the difference has been dramatic. After two weeks on a walker, she graduated to
using a cane. She can now enjoy a walk in the neighborhood and even some gardening. “My life completely changed – it feels wonderful,” Loboda says. “I want to express my limitless gratitude to Dr. Ivie, his medical staff, anesthesiology team and all the wonderful medical staff who took care of me in the hospital. They are true professionals, they love what they do and they really care about their patients. May God bless them for their kindness!”

Photo of Laboda in black jacket working on her garden.
Liudmyla Loboda says she now feels so good she just can’t
keep from doing cartwheels in her new garden! Dr. Ivie says
it’s OK as long as she doesn’t squish the okra.

No Fear

Parkwest Medical Center offers a wide range of orthopedic surgery services to relieve pain and restore mobility. Conrad Ivie, MD, a Parkwest hip and knee specialist, says modern technology and methods like anterior hip replacement have made orthopedic procedures more effective than ever.

“I think any time someone is undergoing surgery it’s a scary thing for the patient,” Dr. Ivie says. “The good news is that we have so many great experts here.” Coming to America from a Ukrainian city that was in the midst of war, hip replacement patient Liudmyla Loboda found peace, comfort and pain relief at Parkwest.

“When I arrived at Parkwest Medical Center on the day of the surgery, I was impressed by how big and bright the  facility was, how caring and professional the medical staff were,” Loboda says through an interpreter. “Doctors, nurses, therapists and other staff were so kind and attentive! They told me exactly what to expect before and after the surgery, and what to do to recover quickly. I knew I was in good hands.”

Loboda says the results were more than she had dared hope to imagine. “I was in disbelief when the next day after the surgery the therapist told me to get up and walk. It was hard to imagine that I could do that. But I trusted her and I did get up and walk along a long hallway, up and down several steps.” She says she couldn’t help laughing when a physical therapist instructed her to “drive a fake car.” Simulative therapy helps patients return to real-life tasks more easily. After leaving the hospital, physical therapy at  Covenant Health Therapy Center – West Knoxville continues to build strength and endurance for the best possible long-term quality of life.

In addition to joint replacement, Parkwest Medical Center offers fracture repairs, arthroscopies and orthopedic and neurosurgical spine surgeries. With access to the latest technology including robotics and advanced imaging, Parkwest physicians provide outstanding care.

Every step of the process from the first evaluation to final discharge is carefully planned as
a comprehensive approach to orthopedics. To learn more about orthopedics and spine care at
Parkwest or for a physician referral, call (865) 374-PARK (7275).

Am I a Candidate for Joint Replacement?

Stiffness, aches and pains are common with age, and most can be relieved with the help of various medicines, lifestyle adjustments and physical  therapy. In some cases though, those fixes just don’t work.

Joint replacement should be considered as a last resort, but when necessary it can be life
changing. It might be time to consider joint replacement if you have:

  • Severe pain during basic activity, such as walking or getting up from a chair
  • Pain that forces you to change your basic, daily routine
  • Pain at night that prevents you from sleeping
  • Pain when you put weight on the joint

The relief from pain that comes with joint replacement can restore quality of life. If you are
experiencing life-altering joint pain, see your doctor and ask about joint replacement procedures
available at Parkwest Medical Center. Visit TreatedWell. com/orthopedics/orthopedics-services for more information.