A Path Forward with ValleyOrtho

Shortly after having a right hip replacement with a local orthopedic provider, Steven Lee of Carbondale knew something was wrong. For nearly two years, and after several failed attempts to pinpoint the problem, he embarked on a family trip to Australia for the holidays, where things only got worse. “I always had pain after that surgery. It was on the way to Australia that things got really bad. By the time I got to L.A. I was laying on the floor. I was in so much pain.”

After a 14-hour flight to Melbourne, Steve’s situation became dire.

“I had to use my elderly mother in law’s walker and was only semi-happy in the bathtub,” he says. “I couldn’t leave the hotel I was in so much pain. Finally, my mind was not working well. I don’t even remember Christmas.”

The next day Steve’s family brought him to the emergency room where he was given medication. Two days after returning to the States, Steve met with ValleyOrtho’s Dr. Daniel O’Connor, orthopedic surgeon and expert in joint replacement and revision surgery.

“I limped in there and it took him 10 minutes to figure out I needed a revision,” he says.

After new imaging Dr. O’Connor determined the replacement had moved, and there was a good chance the hip had become severely infected. Long story short: Steve’s prosthetic hip had to be removed and replaced, meaning he needed revision surgery. Steve was relieved to have a path forward. Not only did he feel like he was in capable hands with Dr. O’Connor but he notes how cohesively the entire ValleyOrtho team worked together.

“The team was so tight. It made me feel really good about what was ahead,” he says.

Steve’s care plan required a multi-pronged approach. Remove the old hardware, treat the infection, then return for a new hip, properly placed.

The old hip hardware, Steve says, “slipped right out,” and, as Dr. O’Connor had prepared for, the region was severely infected with staph. Steve was treated with a spacer impregnated with antibiotics, and remained at Valley View for 10 days to monitor the infection.

“The entire stay at Valley View was great,” says Steve. “It’s such a nurturing place. Everyone makes you feel like you were being well taking care of – and the food was great.”

After finishing the full course of antibiotics, it was finally time for Steven’s new hip, which was completed in April 2023.

“I could tell right away things were better,” he says. “The guidance and care I received at Valley View was top notch. I grew up in the valley and remember when Valley View was just a one-story hospital, so I’ve seen it turn into this exceptional facility with top technical skills, but also nurturing care. I don’t think there are many hospitals like Valley View.”

“I’ve had a few friends struggling with their hips, and I steer them all towards Dr. O’Connor. I can wholeheartedly recommend him and his team to anyone struggling with hip issues. It felt like this was a family that was there to help me.”

Soon after surgery, Steve was back on his mountain bike and riding all the single-track trails he loves. He also returned to hiking. Last summer, just months after surgery, Steve and his wife completed 10 Fourteeners including Mount Massive, Tabeguache, Grays and Torreys.

“I’m extremely thankful to be able to pursue the outdoor sports I love in my advancing years,” he says. “That is the reason I originally underwent hip replacement; having no idea it would be it such an odyssey. I can’t thank Dr. O’Connor and the whole team at Valley View enough for giving that back to me. I never planned on climbing all the Fourteeners, but maybe now I will.”