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Monday, November 18, 2013

Mooresville surgeons offer free joint replacements to patients in need

MOORESVILLE, Ind. —Three patients will receive free total joint replacement surgery beginning Dec. 3 during an Operation Walk USA-sponsored program at the Center for Hip and Knee Surgery, located on the campus of Franciscan St. Francis Health-Mooresville.


These patients — from Mooresville, Martinsville and Solsberry, Ind. — meet Franciscan St. Francis Health’s criteria for financial assistance and joint replacement surgery.

Center surgeons are donating the surgery, and the Mooresville hospital and staff are contributing the rest of the services, and implant manufacturer Biomet of Warsaw, Ind., is donating the implants.

Michael Berend, M.D., will be doing two knee replacements for the Mooresville patient. The first surgery will occur on Dec. 6. Philip Faris, M.D., will perform a single hip replacement on Dec. 3 for the Martinsville patient. Robert Malinzak, M.D., will perform a single hip replacement for the Solsberry patient on Dec. 5.

The Center has consistently been ranked among the top joint replacement facilities in the country using Medicare data and quality measures such as complication and infection rates. For five years straight, Mooresville hospital has been honored with Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award and ranked among the top 5 percent in the Nation for Outstanding Patient Experience.

Operation Walk USA, an independent medical charitable organization, provides all aspects of knee and hip replacement treatment — surgery, hospitalization and pre- and post-operative care — at no cost to patients who may not qualify for government assistance, have insurance or afford surgery on their own.

While more than 1 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 is an offshoot of Operation Walk, which provides free surgical treatment for patients in developing countries.

Established in 2000 by Merrill Ritter, MD, who also founded the Center for Hip & Knee Surgery, Operation Walk Mooresville also educates in-country orthopedic surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and other health care professionals on the most advanced treatments and surgical techniques for diseases of the hip and knee joints.

Through donations of time, money and supplies, Operation Walk Mooresville has been able to touch the lives of countless citizens in several countries, including Cuba, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Most recently, Operation Walk Mooresville traveled to Managua, Nicaragua, from Feb. 24 to March 2. 

The group performed 99 surgeries for 69 patients, including 81 joint replacements and 18 foot and ankle surgeries.

A team of 74 volunteers, 12 from Franciscan St. Francis Health–Mooresville, included surgeons, nurses, physical therapists and many others. The team brought the necessary equipment and donated supplies along with the expertise of the Operation Walk Mooresville group. 

Each trip costs approximately $165,000 for transportation, cargo, shipping, medical supplies, medications, room and board.

“Each year these costs increase,” said Amy Robertson, R.N., team coordinator for Operation Walk in Mooresville. “Without the help from Franciscan St. Francis Health–Mooresville and the Kendrick Foundation, these trips would not be possible.”

For more information about Operation Walk or to contribute the effort, visit