Local woman gets hip replacement at no charge

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Barbara Jordan doesn’t have to worry about joint pain anymore.

For about three years, she lived with a chronic pain in her hip. It became so severe that simply walking through her kitchen was a chore.

“Every time I would take a turn in there I would have to hold on to something. I felt like I was going to fall,” she said.

Surgery would be the best option to alleviate the pain, but it wasn’t something she could afford.

She lost her job in 2011, which resulted in losing her insurance as well.

"Medicaid, I received too much money according to them to get it, and Obamacare, I was not going to file a tax return, so there was just nothing out there for me. Nothing,” she said.

Jordan was watching a national news program when she heard about Operation Walk, a non-profit that coordinates hip and knee replacement surgeries at no cost for those who qualify.

"I found their website. I put my name on their list and sent them a message,” she said.

Dr. David Howe, orthopedic surgeon at OrthoCarolina in Winston-Salem, contacted Operation Walk and Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in hopes to build a partnership helping people in the Triad.

Operation Walk shared Jordan’s story with Forsyth Medical Center once the hospital confirmed it was interested in a partnership.

This past December, Jordan received a total hip replacement at no cost.

"We did what's called a total hip replacement from what we refer to as an anterior approach,” Howe said.

“Traditionally, the incisions are from the back of the hip or the back of the leg. In her case, we actually made it in the front and the benefit to doing that is we don't have to cut the muscle, so people tend to have a little bit less pain and get better faster than maybe otherwise,” he explained.

This is the first year that Forsyth Medical Center has worked with Operation Walk USA. Jordan and another patient are the first two patients to have joint replacement surgeries through the program.

“Hopefully we can recruit some more physicians and some more resources from the hospital to be able to offer this to even more patients,” Steve Garner, manager of orthopedic services at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center, said.

It’s estimated that the hospital fees of a joint replacement surgery alone can range between $30,000 to $40,000.

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