Revision hip replacement for treatment of chronic infection and periprosthetic fracture in a middle-aged female patient

My name is Nancy Halvachs and I am 62 years old.  When I was fifteen I was struck by a car while crossing the street.  I was hospitalized for a fractured right femur and right pelvic fracture.  Surgery was opted for and the doctor put in a pin and screws for the femur.  After nine years I started to have severe pain in the right femur and doctors removed the pin and screws do to working there way loose.

Everything was going well and when I turned forty-eight I started to have pain in the right femur.  When I was fifty I went to an orthopedic doctor that was referred to me by a friend (her mother had knee replacements and did fine).

He x-rayed my right leg and said I needed a hip replacement as soon as possible.  I thought it over and decided to do it.  My first hip replacement surgery was September 15, 1999.  When I woke up from the first hip replacement surgery the doctor told me thi hip was fine, but he cracked the bone in the center of my leg approximately eight inches below the hip replacement.  I was in the hospital for three weeks with the first surgery.  I asked when I was going to get up and stand and start walking, but I never received any answer from the doctor.  I was finally released to go home and was on a walker, but could not put weight on the right leg.  I was home close to one month when I got up from my sofa with my walker when I heard a crack in my leg and fell back to the sofa.  The pain was severe and my daughter called an ambulance.  They said in the emergency room after x-rays that the right leg was shattered.  They put in a new hip replacement and said they replaced the coils and also put in steel plates.  That was October, 1999.  In November of 1999 on Thanksgiving Day, I was on my walker when I felt a pop in my leg.  At first it didn’t hurt, but as soon as I tried to step on it slightly I knew it was broken.  The doctor replaced the second hip replacement the next day.  I was hospitalized one to two weeks.  They said that the first two hip replacements were too small.  In 2000 I still received home therapy.  My therapist noticed how swollen my right calf was.  It was hard and very painful.  I went to the hospital and had a Doppler test and was admitted for a blood clot.  I was in the hospital six days and was given heparin.  After going home I was on blood thinners for about two years.  It is hazy for me since it has been such a long time ago, but I know there was another surgery in mid 2000.  What I do remember in September of 2000 I contracted three bone infections, all at the same time.  The doctor that I had at the time admitted me to the hospital with a temp of 104.6.  After I was given antibiotics for several days I had another surgery to clean out the infection.  After a time (it was now the beginning of January 2001) the doctor said he had to do one more surgery because the infection was not leaving.

My leg was not getting better.  My leg was massively swollen and bowed.  I could feel it was going to break again after that and he basically said there was nothing more he could do but amputate my leg.  He kept telling me my leg was not breaking.  I immediately left.

That evening, the doctor’s physician assistant called my home.  He called to give me the name of another doctor.  A pain management doctor.  I called her the next day and got in that afternoon.  She examined me and talked to me in length and told me to be patient and that she would find me another orthopedic doctor.  When she returned she gave me the name of a new orthopedic doctor that she strongly believed could help me.  Dr. Clohisy.

He saw me the very next day and when he saw the x-rays he put me in the hospital that evening.  Dr. Clohisy said my leg was breaking.  I was still very sick and he had to take out all foreign matter in my leg due to the infection not leaving.  It was a long surgery and Dr. Clohisy told me it was going to be completely out until October of 2001 because of all the infection I had.  He had a shunt placed in my upper left chest and massive doses of antibiotics were given to me four times a day, one half hour each time.  That went on for about three months.  If I recall correctly Dr. Clohisy did more than one surgery due to bone loss from the infection. (It should be accurate in my records).  I was sent to therapy for a very long time after everything was placed back in my right leg.  I must add that Dr. Clohisy found a really good infectious disease doctor that worked with me until everything was back to normal.  After all the wear and tear on my left side after many years I had to have another hip replacement, this time on the left leg.  It has been four months and I am on the road to recovery.  I am sure that Dr. Clohisy not only saved my life, but got me to walk again.

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