• Orthopedics Patient Stories

    Mayo Clinic — A place for hope

My name is Walter Cannon, and I am 66 years old. When I was nine years old, I had an accident at school that lead to an infection that destroyed my left hip. The hip was fused at age 12. Thirty-five years ago I started looking for a doctor that could reverse the fused hip into a joint that would allow me to bend the hip. I had to wear a built up shoe of 2" to be able to walk level.

I went to at least eight specialists in several states to try to find a doctor that could and would do the surgery and was told no for several reasons.

1 - The infection was still there
2 - The greater trochanter was missing
3 - The muscles were gone to hold a new joint in place
4 - The limp would be worse
5 - Technology was not there to do the surgery

I had pretty much given up, and then I read an article on the internet on Mayo Clinic and that the orthopedic department was rated #1 in the country.

I sent a blind email and explained my situation, and I got a call in a few weeks to send x-rays for review. Then I got a call to set up an appointment to meet with Dr. Rafael Sierra for an evaluation. I asked the lady if Dr. Sierra had read the x-rays because I explained that I did not want to waste a trip because I had been told no so many times. She said she didn’t know if he had, but she knew if they thought they couldn’t help, then I would not be asked to come.

I made the appointment and met with Dr. Sierra in November of 08 and immediately liked him and was confident he knew what he was doing. He said the surgery would be difficult and the rehab would be difficult but that he could do the surgery and separate the fused joint and install a new hip joint. I scheduled the surgery for January 2009, and the surgery has given me a new life. I am able to bend the hip to 105 degrees. Before the operation, it was zero. Dr. Sierra has been great during and after the surgery. He has taken the time to answer all my questions and concerns. All the nurses and other doctors were a credit to their profession.

I also spent a week at the Charter House after surgery for some rehab before I went home, and everyone there was wonderful.

It has been almost a year. I am using a cane, but the hip is growing stronger every day. I think I will be without the cane within the next six months.

Everyone at Mayo was wonderful. Thank God there is a place like Mayo Clinic that gave me and many others new hope.

Thank you
Walter Cannon, Kinston NC


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