Program Gives Free Knee and Hip Replacements to Uninsured

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Imagine living in pain with every step, or every minute of the day, and not being able to afford surgery that could give you your life back. Now "Operation Walk" is here to help, offering hip and knee replacement surgeries for free. On Saturday some 200 people across the country will be getting free knee and hip replacement surgeries including seven here in the metro.

Dennis Conner is one of those lucky few. Dr Tom Samuelson says on Saturday, he will replace Conner's left knee and hopefully then Conner will be pain-free. It was a surgery Conner wasn't going to be able to do because he doesn't have insurance. But "Operation Walk" is all about helping folks like Conner who don't have insurance.

"It's a way of helping out those in need, the patients who have these arthritic problems are struggling and can't get around very well," said Samuelson. "They need assistance and unless this program was available they wouldn't' be able to have the procedure."

Everything is donated from the surgery all the way through rehab. Dr Samuelson says it's rewarding to know he's helping get people like Conner back on their feet again. Conner says he hopes to be back out on he nature walks he loves so much by the Spring.

"It's a blessing this is all happening," said Conner, "a great Christmas gift coming for me."

All the local patients will have their surgeries Saturday at St. Joseph Hospital thanks to the physicians with Kansas City Bone and Joint and Carondelet Orthopedic Surgeons.

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