The pilot of the helicopter said, “I’ve never flown to Parkwest.” Roy South responded, “Well, you’re about to get to!” And with that, South became the first patient to arrive at Parkwest Medical Center via the hospital’s new helipad. While it was his first time being delivered to Parkwest by air, it was far from the first time he’s trusted Parkwest for excellent care.
Always on the move South is a native of the Cumberland Plateau who lived in various locations and pursued many interests. He’s done everything from running a bottling plant to running a motel. He built Tennessee’s first public sporting clays range in Putnam County and raised his grandsons to compete in the Scholastic’s national youth clay shooting program. He continues to teach the skill to other teenagers. “I can’t stand to be idle,” South explains. South has counted on Parkwest to keep him moving, including this past summer when he suffered what he says was the worst pain of his life.
A critical moment To say South “took a bad fall” is an understatement. He was on the floor of the workshop behind his house and unable to move his leg. He knew he’d broken his femur because he could feel the bone bulging from his thigh. “As far as the pain goes, on a scale of one to 10 it was about a 15,” South says. “It was the most excruciating pain I’ve experienced.” South doesn’t ordinarily have cell phone service in his workshop, but on this particular day he had left his garage door open. He held his phone up and was relieved to find out he could contact his son, a deputy fire chief with Crossville Fire & Rescue.
Minutes later, South was being cared for by another family member. His grandson, a paramedic firefighter, administered an IV and secured the broken bone. South’s son called for a helicopter. Having received orthopedic care at Parkwest multiple times in the past decade, South knew exactly where he wanted to go: “I want to go to Parkwest!”
Relying on Parkwest South has undergone a total of six surgeries at Parkwest, including two hip replacements, a knee replacement, surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands and now, surgery for a broken femur.
It all began about 11 years ago when South was hurting in the hips. He began asking others for recommendations, and heard good things about orthopedic surgeon Harold Cates, MD. South was impressed not only by Cates’ skill as a surgeon, but by his demeanor “I can tell you he
is an absolutely fabulous gentleman – he’s just a fine human being and I have so much respect for him.”
South trusted Parkwest and Dr. Cates, and was very pleased with the care he received as part of two hip replacements. “Everyone from housekeeping to the nurses – all the care there was absolutely the best,” South says. He chose to have his hand surgery at Parkwest, too, with hand surgeon Timothy Renfree, MD.
South’s wife also underwent hip replacement at Parkwest this past summer. Coming back for care When South arrived by air at Parkwest after his fall, the medical team was waiting for him. As
the helicopter landed, he became the first patient to arrive on the hospital’s new heliport.
It was fitting for a man who has been loyal to his favorite hospital for so many years.
“The thing was, the bone broke between an artificial knee and an artificial hip without any damage to either one,” South says. “That tells you how good the replacements are!” Parkwest has a nationally recognized emergency department and offers award-winning care throughout the facility.
Joint Replacement: A Long-term Solution
Current research shows that hip and knee replacements are a good long-term investment. The findings answer important questions about outcomes for joint replacement.
Researchers in six countries followed nearly 216,000 hip replacement patients for 15 years. They also tracked 74,000 for 20 years, and more than 51,000 patients for 25 years.
Overall, 89 percent of hip replacements lasted 15 years, and 70 percent lasted 20 years. Nearly six in 10 lasted 25 years, the study findings showed. In addition, the researchers looked at knee replacement patients, including nearly 300,000 patients who were tracked for 15 years, 92,000 who were followed for 20 years, and about 80,000 who were tracked for 25 years.
Of those who had total knee replacement, 93 percent lasted 15 years. The same was true for about 77 percent of patients who had partial knee replacement, the investigators found. Two decades out, 90 percent of total knee replacements and 72 percent of partial replacements were still in good form.
Eighty-two percent of total knee replacements and 70 percent of partial knee replacements lasted for 25 years. For those who have experienced joint degeneration resulting in hip or knee pain that cannot be helped by other treatment options, joint replacement may be a long-term solution for regaining mobility and quality of life.
Considering Joint Replacement? Here’s how to recover well
Joint replacement is surgery to remove and replace an arthritic or damaged joint with an artificial joint. It’s usually considered an option after other treatment options haven’t worked to ease pain or restore movement. Patients considering joint replacement will want to learn as much as possible about the procedure and how they can prepare for a successful recovery.
Here are some important points to consider: Before the surgery, talk with your doctor about steps to prepare for surgery. For example, your surgeon may recommend specific exercises to strengthen your muscles prior to surgery. You’ll also need to tell your surgeon about any medicines you are currently taking. Some may need to be temporarily discontinued until after surgery.
Be sure to discuss discharge planning with your doctor beforehand. Your discharge plan may include instructions on care of the incision, pain medicines, activities, follow-up exercises, and other home care instructions. People who have a total joint replacement can lead functional, active lifestyles. One major component of many rehabilitation programs is exercise to restore
function, mobility, and strength to the affected joint and surrounding muscles.
Discuss with your doctor what an appropriate post-operative rehabilitation program should include. As is the case with any surgery, there are some risks associated with joint replacement. It’s important to make sure the procedure is performed by an experienced surgeon in a hospital that has a great track record.
The Parkwest Joint Replacement Center has a specially designed program for total knee and
total hip replacement patients. Patients become a part of their medical care team by being involved in education about their procedure. A special joint replacement class teaches patients everything they need to know in order to help manage expectations about their hospital experience and stay.