It takes about seven hours for Pam O’Gwynn to travel from her home in Mobile, Alabama, to
Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville. She will tell you it’s worth the drive.
“I was so blown away by everything about the hospital,” O’Gwynn says. “Everyone, from
the security guard as I walked in the door to the nurse who rolled me to the car when I left, made me feel like I was the only patient there.” O’Gwynn received a total knee
replacement at Parkwest in August. At home in Alabama now, she’s back to her active lifestyle with no regrets.
Never Say Never
After getting a new right knee in 2018, O’Gwynn had vowed she would never go through joint replacement again. The surgery had gone well, but the recovery was just too hard, too long and too painful.
Still in need of a new left knee, she limped through life for a long time. O’Gwynn was trying to work full time, she tried to visit her grandchildren at the ballpark, she loved going on international mission trips and she wanted to enjoy exploring the great outdoors with her husband. “I don’t feel 63, and people tell me all the time I don’t act 63,” O’Gwynn says. “But all of a sudden I was getting to a point where I couldn’t enjoy those things like I should have been able to.”
O’Gwynn began to reconsider when her husband came home with a story about a coworker who
had traveled to Parkwest in Knoxville for a different kind of knee replacement. Later he came home with news of another coworker who had gone to Knoxville for the surgery. Then another.
“I mean, this went on for months,” O’Gwynn says. “He kept coming home and telling
me about another coworker who had gone to Knoxville.” After hearing about nine different people who had made the trip for knee replacement, O’Gwynn knew it was time to make a call to Tennessee.
Minimally Invasive Surgery Parkwest orthopedic surgeon Herman Botero, DO, has trained with world-renowned surgeons who pioneered minimally invasive knee replacement. In contrast to traditional knee replacement surgery in which the knee is bent and the soft tissues are tight, Dr. Botero performs the surgery using a technique in which the knee is extended, and the soft tissues are relaxed. This allows for a smaller incision and less soft-tissue trauma, which may help speed up recovery.
“In the end you come out feeling like you shouldn’t have put it off as long as you did, because what you’re losing is quality of life,” Dr. Botero says. He often hears from patients like O’Gwynn who need knee replacement but are anxious and a little afraid. He listens with compassion and sets them at ease.
“Despite it being at times a scary thought or a thought filled with anxiety,” Dr. Botero says, “we have ways to take you through this process that lead to excellent outcomes and an experience that eases a lot of that anxiety.”
After a preliminary examination and screening, O’Gwynn’s surgery was scheduled for early
August. Dr. Botero replaced her knee on a Thursday. Her husband took her home just a few
“I think it’s because of the care I got there that I was able to make the trip home that same day,” O’Gwynn says. “Because of that good experience, I left there feeling like the recovery was going to be easier – and it has been.”
Today O’Gwynn is the one telling others about the hospital in Knoxville where knee replacements can be done a different way. The woman who once said she would never have
another knee replacement has changed her opinion.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” O’Gwynn says. “I mean, hands down, it was the best
hospital experience that anybody could ask for.”
For more information about joint replacement at Parkwest Medical Center, visit treatedwell.com/orthopedics.
Knowledge is Power
Thousands of patients trust Parkwest Medical Center for orthopedic surgeries every year.
Parkwest’s orthopedic and spine programs have been recognized both nationally and regionally
for excellent outcomes and quality. But the success of the procedure isn’t just a matter of skilled surgery.
At Parkwest the patient becomes a part of the medical care team. The patient is well-informed and treated as an individual, rather than just another case number. Joint replacement patients who know what to expect before, during and after surgery are better informed and can take a more active role in their recovery.
The learning begins even before the knee or hip replacement is scheduled and continues when the patient goes home from the hospital. Patients meet with a clinical orthopedic educator before surgery to learn how to prepare for surgery and recovery, including physical therapy.
Each patient is encouraged to invite a family member or friend to take on the role of coach,
who learns alongside the patient, serving as an educated encourager from start to finish.
Having a partner throughout the process takes some of the fear away, and adds accountability when a patient needs a little extra motivation to follow the doctor’s orders about everything from
exercise to rest.
A leader in knee and hip replacements, Parkwest provides surgery that is helping patients reclaim their lives with pain relief and better mobility. Surgeons specializing in minimally invasive orthopedic techniques offer:
- Joint replacement
- Robotic-assisted joint replacement
- Spine surgery
- Fracture repair
Parkwest has seven new surgical suites and a total of 28 operating rooms to meet the growing needs of its award-winning orthopedic program. For more information about the Joint Replacement Center at Parkwest Medical Center or for a physician referral, call (865) 374-PARK.