Atrium Health Patient

News | one month ago

Innovative Hip Treatment Gives Joseph a New Lease on Life

A car accident more than 30 years ago resulted in a fused hip joint for Joseph Truesdale, leaving him debilitated and struggling to do basic daily activities for more than half of his life. But thanks to the expert care at Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute and Carolinas Rehabilitation, Joseph is back on his feet.

About 30 years ago, Joseph Truesdale was in a car accident that resulted in a ruptured spleen and a hip that had dislocated from its socket.

After spending 21 days in traction, Truesdale had surgery to put a plate inside his hip and secure his bone back in with screws. Once he returned home, Truesdale’s hip began to heal. But his mobility was never the same.

“It wasn’t too painful, because everything eventually just fused together at the hip,” Truesdale says. “But it was debilitating. Everywhere I went, everything I did, I had to sit with my leg straight out.”

Complex Care

Fast forward to 2023, when Truesdale connected with Dr. Kevin Weiss, an orthopedic surgeon at Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute, which ranks as the top orthopedic care in Charlotte by U.S. News & World Report.

“When I met with Joseph, we talked about how he essentially had a fused hip joint – meaning his hip was stuck in a very specific position and he had no motion,” Weiss says. “He couldn't do basic daily activities like mowing his lawn, sitting in a chair or sleeping comfortably because his hip could not move beyond that position.”

Weiss discussed treatment options with Joseph, explaining that it was something that could be fixed, but it would require a lot of preparation and planning.

“Hip fusions are not very common,” Weiss says. “To treat Joseph would involve completely recreating a hip joint for him.”

Weiss says the initial step in preparing for Joseph’s surgery was to have a series of advanced imaging, including X-rays and CT scans, to assess the anatomy of the hip.

“What stood out to me most when I met with Dr. Weiss was his confidence and attentiveness,” Joseph says. “He said he was going to get me straightened out. He called me the night before the surgery to check in on me, and he stopped by my room the morning of the surgery to make sure I was ready to go. That really made me feel at ease knowing that he truly cared about me and he was going to do everything he could to help me.”

Rewarding Outcomes

When it came time for the surgery, Weiss says the procedure was challenging, just as they had anticipated. But thanks to their planning, Joseph’s outcome was successful.

“He had a hip joint that was moving like a hip should move, and it was stable, meaning it wasn't dislocating,” Weiss says. “And we were able to restore the length of his legs to give him a functional hip.”

For Joseph, the care he received was just as important as the outcome.

Weiss says when he visited Joseph the day after surgery, Joseph immediately smiled and told him that he had never felt the back of his leg touch the bed in over 30 years due to the way his hip was fused.

“One of the most amazing things about working here and being a part of Atrium Health is we have all the resources available to be able to take care of patients like Joseph who are in need of more complex care,” Weiss says. “Seeing how well he's done is further proof of what we can offer our patients here. I'm just so happy that we were able to get him to a point where he could enjoy the basic things in life again.”

In the days following his surgery, the inpatient physical therapy team at Atrium Health Carolinas Rehabilitation – ranked as a Best Rehabilitation Hospital in the southeast and No. 9 in the country by U.S. News & World Report – worked with Joseph to help prepare him to go home.

“It was vital to Joseph to have this rehabilitation care in a hospital setting,” Weiss says. “The team worked with him tremendously so when he went home, he would have an understanding of how to move again to help aid him in his recovery from surgery in the months ahead.”

Joseph says from the moment he met the team at Atrium Health, he could feel that everyone truly cared about what they did.

“They really wanted to help people like me,” Joseph says. “That’s what made this all so special – and so easy. For 30-something years I had been living like this. But now I feel like I have a new lease on life thanks to Dr. Weiss and the team at Atrium Health.”

Learn more about the award-winning care at Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute and Atrium Health Carolinas Rehabilitation.