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ValleyCare Health System to Provide Free Hip and Knee Replacements December 7 as part of Operation Walk USA

Hospital news | Thursday, December 6, 2012

Contact: Denise Bouillerce

Pleasanton, CA -- On Friday, December 7, ValleyCare orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Aaron Salyapongse will provide free hip and knee replacement surgery for two patients as part of Operation Walk USA 2012. ValleyCare is only one of four hospitals in California participating.

While more than one million hip and knee replacements are performed in the U.S. each year, countless men and women continue to live with severe arthritic pain and immobility because they cannot afford joint replacement surgery.

Operation Walk USA 2012 provides all aspects of treatment – surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care – at no cost to participating patients.

Through Operation Walk USA 2012, 109 orthopaedic surgeons across the U.S. will provide free hip or knee replacements to more than 200 individuals in 29 states on December 7, 2012.

Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the U.S., affecting approximately 48 million Americans, or more than 21 percent of the adult population. The debilitating pain of end-stage hip or knee degenerative disease often makes working, or completing even the simplest of daily tasks, excruciatingly painful or impossible. Hip and knee replacement surgeries are the most cost-effective and successful of all orthopedic procedures, eliminating pain and allowing patients to resume active, productive lives.

Operation Walk USA began in 2011 following the tremendous success of Operation Walk, an international volunteer medical service organization that provides treatment for patients with arthritis and joint conditions throughout the world. To date, more than 6,000 patients have received new knees and hips through the International Operation Walk.

The mission of Operation Walk USA, a non-profit organization, is to encourage and enable joint replacement surgeons to provide mobility and quality of life of uninsured patients in the U.S. suffering from disability of the hip or knee. They target U.S. citizens and permanent residents who do not qualify for government assistance programs.

“We are pleased to be participating in this humanitarian endeavor,” says Marcy Feit, CEO of ValleyCare Health System. “With so many people struggling just to make ends meet, being able to provide this surgery is an opportunity for us to help the uninsured, who are in real pain, get the treatment they need.”

“Joint pain can severely affect the daily lives of many individuals, even making walking very difficult” says Dr. Aaron Salyapongse, the ValleyCare surgeon volunteering to perform the hip and knee replacements. “Operation Walk USA 2012 gives us the opportunity to get these folks moving and productive again, and I’m sure will be a rewarding experience for all of us involved.”

Operation Walk USA 2012 is a collaborative effort between three orthopaedic organizations and 49 participating hospitals. Device manufacturers Biomet, DePuy, MAKO Surgical, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Total Joint Orthopedics (TJO), Inc. and Zimmer donated the hip and knee implants. Ortech Data, Inc. is providing a complimentary data system for OpWalkUSA patients. Ortech will provide this data to the national arthroplasty registry, the American Joint Replacement Registry.

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