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Walking into the New Year with the gift of mobility
Story Number is : 120817110
Lenox Hill Hospital

Being healthy and pain-free is the best gift anyone could hope for. A local disabled man got just that this holiday season after suffering through four decades of debilitating hip pain. Richard “Murph” Murphy, 61, a screenwriter from Waterford, CT, received free life-changing surgery today at Lenox Hill Hospital through Operation Walk USA, an organization that provides free joint replacements to patients with disabling arthritis of the hip or knee who lack insurance coverage, don’t qualify for government assistance, and cannot afford surgery on their own.

With the help of Matthew Hepinstall, MD, associate director of the Center for Joint Preservation & Reconstruction at Lenox Hill Hospital, Murph will be able to walk into the New Year without the limp and crippling pain that have tormented him for years. In addition to a congenital hip defect, Murph attributes his disability to his work as a longshoreman during his youth, a job that helped him pay for college.

Doctors told Murph that he completely lacked cartilage in his right hip, but he was unable to afford an expensive hip replacement because he doesn’t have medical insurance. Eventually, he had to give up activities he really enjoyed, including playing basketball. The past few years have been especially unbearable for Murph, as he has been unable to do even simple tasks, such as bending down, putting on socks, and tying his shoes.

Murph’s luck changed a few months ago when his wife Gail read about Operation Walk USA and its mission to restore mobility and improve quality of life for patients regardless of their ability to pay.

“I feel like we won the lottery, this is like a dream, the best thing that’s happened ever. Dr. Hepinstall and his staff have been wonderful.” said Murph. “Chronic pain clouded everything in my life including my mood. I can’t wait to walk again, to do the simple things I’ve enjoyed and perhaps even play some basketball again.”

The annual program, which takes place each December, provides all aspects of treatment – surgery, hospitalization, and pre- and post-operative care – at no cost to the patients impacted by arthritic disease, the most common cause of disability in the U.S. To date, over 700 patients received help through the program, and this year, 60 patients are expected to receive free joint replacements from 40 volunteer orthopedic surgeons at 36 hospitals across the country.

“It is a privilege for me to be able to help patients who have suffered for so many years start the New Year with mobility, renewed hope and a whole new lease on life,” said Dr. Hepinstall who has participated in the program twice previously. “Patients, who undergo hip replacement surgery, typically have excellent outcomes and really have their lives transformed.”

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