Pat’s Story

Bilateral Hip Replacement Allows Chesterland Woman to Live Life to the Fullest

Stephen Lacey, MD and Pat Palermo

Pat Palermo loves to exercise. The 63-year-old Chesterland resident has been a fitness enthusiast for more than 30 years, and is a fan of both spinning and Barre3. So, when the arthritis she inherited from her parents started to interfere with her life, she turned to University Hospitals.

“I started to really notice the pain about 10 years ago,” said Pat. “I walk my Labrador, Sammy, every day – rain or shine – and although the walking improved my posture and back problems, I could hear my hip bone grinding. I knew that it was time to see an orthopaedic surgeon.”

Pat asked Stephen Lacey, MD, a UH orthopaedic surgeon she sees for an arthritic condition in her finger, for a reference, and he recommended that she see Steven Fitzgerald, MD, an adult orthopaedic reconstruction surgeon in the UH Department of Orthopaedics. Pat, a business owner, works near University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood, so she took advantage of Dr. Fitzgerald’s office hours at that location.

“After I discussed my symptoms with him, he took X-rays of my hips and they showed that there were areas of bone-on-bone in both hips,” said Pat.

Prior to her first appointment with Dr. Fitzgerald, Pat did quite a bit of research on arthritis of the hip, including what treatment options are available. “I’m pretty direct,” said Pat. “I asked him a lot of questions and he answered me in a very straightforward manner. You know going into an appointment what you want from a medical professional, and he was it.”

Diagnosed with advanced osteoarthritis of both hips, Dr. Fitzgerald performed bilateral hip arthroplasty (hip replacement) on Pat – her left hip first in October 2014 and her right hip in July 2015.

“My experience at UH was flawless,” said Pat. “After my first surgery, I followed the post-surgical recommendations religiously and went home after two nights in the hospital. And I didn’t need any prescription medications for pain, just Tylenol.”

After about a week, she was back walking Sammy again, and after six weeks, Dr. Fitzgerald allowed her to resume her spinning classes.

The surgery to replace her other hip went just as smoothly, and since then, Pat has been able to resume her busy, active lifestyle without pain. “Having the hip replacement surgeries has made me feel good about myself again,” said Pat. “To be my age and to have the energy to work hard and be active feels great.”

When asked if she would recommend UH and Dr. Fitzgerald to friends or colleagues, Pat gave a resounding “Yes!” She said, “I just wanted to be treated the way that I treat people, and that’s what I received at UH. From Dr. Fitzgerald and his staff – including Allison and Roy – to all of the people I encountered at UH, I had a flawless experience.”

For an appointment with Dr. Fitzgerald in the UH Department of Orthopaedics, please call 216-844-7200.

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