She traveled from Florida to get surgery in Lawrence

photo by: Contributed

Mary Hatfield and Frannie Cox

Mary Hatfield can’t say enough good things about having her knees replaced. When she needed care, Hatfield turned to Dr. Adam Goodyear and OrthoKansas for help.

“I had total knee replacement surgery on each knee — one in November 2022 and the other in March 2023 — and I had a wonderful experience with MAKO robotic surgery,” she said. “My friend, Frannie Cox, was here from Florida for my second knee replacement and saw the great care I received.”

Cox had been experiencing some issues with her shoulder for a few months and was intrigued when she saw how much detail Hatfield had been provided about knee replacements. The team at OrthoKansas provides patients scheduled for total joint replacement with a manual with information about their upcoming procedure. It includes detailed information about preparing for surgery, pre-operative instructions, what to expect from the surgery and recovery.

“I told Frannie that another friend just had her shoulder done, so we took a look at the book OrthoKansas had for her,” Hatfield said. “It was another great guide of what to expect and what exercises to do before and after surgery.”

Cox wanted to learn as much as she could before surgery, so she copied the in-depth shoulder replacement education manual from OrthoKansas and began making notes to prepare for her upcoming visit with an orthopedic physician in Florida. Her experience there had Cox doing a double take.

“I asked if they had a booklet that I could read. Their response was that they’d let me know what I needed to know when I needed to know it,” Cox said. “That really put me off.”

Is it a possibility?

The physician in Florida diagnosed Cox with severe arthritis and bone spurs in her shoulder and prescribed a steroid injection to help her find relief. As her shoulder pain continued, Cox saw the strides Hatfield was making in her recovery from knee replacement surgery. It encouraged her to find out if her insurance would cover care she might receive out of state. Once she learned that it did, she made an appointment with Dr. Douglass Stull, an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoKansas, and nurse practitioner Leighton Miller to learn more about her treatment options.

“Frannie had pain with overhead activity and it also affected her sleep. She couldn’t find a position that relieved the pain,” Stull said. “She came to us having had an MRI and we got additional X-rays that confirmed there was significant arthritis in the shoulder.”

Based on her symptoms and imaging, Stull determined the best course of treatment was anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty.

“This surgery replaces the ball and socket with an artificial joint. There are two parts: an artificial ball (humeral component) and an artificial socket (glenoid component),” he said. “With anatomic total shoulder replacement, a healthy rotator cuff is important for this type of prosthesis to work well and in this case her rotator cuff was healthy such that an anatomic shoulder arthroplasty was indicated.”

Cox was relieved to have a treatment plan in place after being in pain for such a long time and excited to move forward.

“It’s so good to feel confident in your surgical team and what they’re going to do,” she said. “Thanks to Dr. Stull and the booklet, I was well prepared and had great insight into what would happen.”

Cox’s surgery was scheduled to take place at the LMH Health Main Campus on Dec. 20. She spent the night in the hospital and was released the following day to go home and start recovering.

“Frannie’s surgery went well and it totally confirmed that we were doing the right thing for her,” Stull said. “Any other procedure wouldn’t have been right for her.”

Recovering close to home

Cox was amazed with how her recovery from surgery began. Spending the night in the hospital gave her confidence that if any issues arose, she’d have a great team on hand. Aside from some nausea due to the pain medication, everything was as smooth as silk.

“I felt very comfortable and didn’t really have any pain, so we ditched the pain medication and moved to Tylenol the next morning. Honestly, the sling was the worst part,” she recalled. “Everything went well. The graciousness and confidence that both Dr. Stull and Leighton had was fabulous.”

She expected to be in Lawrence, recovering under Hatfield’s watchful eye, for five to six weeks after surgery. It quickly became evident that timeline might not be as long as Cox expected.

“Frannie met with Becky McClure, the same physical therapist who I worked with. Becky asked where she was going to sleep and recommended a recliner because it would be hard to roll over after surgery,” Hatfield said. “But one week later, Frannie was sleeping in a bed on her back. It was amazing.”

At her first post-op visit with Miller, Cox learned that everything was in great shape. Three weeks later, she was headed back to finish physical therapy and recovering at home in Florida.

“Dr. Stull, Leighton and everyone at OrthoKansas provided me the highest level of care. They not only gave me a feeling of confidence, they were completely transparent,” she said. “With that partnership, I knew they’d be there with me the whole way. Anyone should just pick up from Florida and come to Lawrence for care. I was impressed with the staff and the West Campus and hospital are amazing. I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out.”

— Autumn Bishop is the marketing manager and content strategist at LMH Health.


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