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  • HSS patients from the last 5 years

Patient Testimonials - Page 7

Theodore Bany, Stony Brook, NY — spine surgery
I had been suffering with progressive spinal stenosis for several years. This intially caused pain and ultimately numbness and I loss of control of my left leg. As this condition progressed, I sought relief through cortisone injections, which helped a good deal initially, but ultimately did not provide sustained relief. My condition got to the point that I was afraid to go into a shopping mall for fear of being unable to walk out on my own.

I sought help from HSS for a solution to my problem. I found a thoughtful, though lengthy surgical solution, from Dr. Frank Cammisa. The procedure was called an XLIF. This procedure required two incisions; one on my right side and the other on the back in the affected area. Needless to say, the surgery was not much fun, but I was able to stand and walk the next day without the usual numbness. I stayed in the hospital for three days and each day I walked a little more. By three months, I was walking half a mile. And by six months, I could walk all I wanted. The symptoms and disablity were gone. Of course, there is muscle soreness sometimes, but I can work around the yard, fish, use my boat, play golf (irons only at 8 months post surgery-my choice) and really do anything that I want to do. I sought a center of excellence for repair of my back and returned to mobility, and I surely found that at HSS. I am very grateful to Hospital for Special Surgery and especially to Dr. Cammisa and his wonderful staff; very grateful indeed!

Roger Jacobsen, Nutley, NJ foot and ankle surgery
I've been to HSS twice now and each experience was exceptional. Your nursing staff is the best. I've been in too many hospitals, but HSS is one I would look forward to returning to. The nurses provided the best care I have ever received and the doctors were very professional as well. Thanks for a job well done in the way HSS is being run.

Janet Stubbs, Helmetta, NJ — knee replacement
After having a below-knee amputation on my left leg due to an MRSA infection, it was recommended I use HSS for my right knee replacement because of the extremely low infection rate. All of the physicians I saw there were caring and accommodating to my circumstances. Dr. Figgie is an outstanding surgeon with a wonderful bedside manner. He and his staff helped to keep me in the loop on everything. I have several friends who have had recent knee replacements elsewhere, and not one of them has had the post-op success that I have had with mine. Within three weeks my leg was bearing my entire weight so I could again transfer when I am without my prosthesis.

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Mark Psencik, Smithville, TX — hip surgery
Our family will be grateful forever to the Hospital for Special Surgery and their staff. Our son Mark, was in severe pain for four years due to a hip injury sustained when he was hit by a train. We had been to numerous doctors and no one knew why he had so much pain. Then one day on our local television station in Austin, Texas, I saw Dr. Struan Coleman with a young woman describing her pain and how Dr. Coleman had helped her. To make a long story short I contacted him and that is how we found Hospital for Special Surgery. Mark was scheduled for arthroscopic surgery of his hip. He had surgery in the morning and was out by the afternoon. Hospital for Special Surgery is so wonderful. The nurses, doctors and staff were friendly and professional. Although we were far from home, we were made to feel comfortable and informed every step of the way. We are home now and Mark is doing great. We tell all our friends and family what a difference Hospital for Special Surgery and Dr. Coleman have made in our lives. We will never forget what they have done for us. For the first time in many years, my son has begun to have a more normal life.

Ned Kitchel, Falmouth, ME — ankle replacement surgery
I live in Maine and came to the HSS because the surgery I needed was not available in New England. Since I was traveling to NYC for the surgery, my guard was up. I didn't know what to expect. Because I did my homework and chose to have my surgery at HSS, I expected a great surgery. But I did not expect to be treated as well as I was by every person I came in contact with. At every level, from check-in to discharge, I was treated with care and kindness. I can never say enough about how good my experience was. I left the hospital feeling like I had made friends with a legion of extraordinary caregivers. I was deeply touched by the depth of the compassion and thoughtfulness. I have told all who will listen about Hospital for Special Surgery. It was more than good care, it was superb care. I am deeply grateful that I was able to have my ankle joint replacement surgery at HSS. I expect to be back in September to have the other ankle replaced. I will be in good hands. I know from experience. Thank you so much.

Jessica Michael, New Canaan, CT — spine surgery
Two weeks from now will mark the ten-year anniversary of the accident, which led me to HSS. I was on my way home from work and my car was rear-ended. My diagnosis was severe whiplash. After a month of PT, my right arm swelled. The ER doctors suggested TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome) and put me in a sling. I met with various neurosurgeons, physiatrists and vascular surgeons. It was difficult to know what was wrong. I was in excruciating shoulder pain and my arm felt ‘dead’. I received two more diagnoses. They were brachial-plexopathy and lymph edema. I tried every conventional treatment with hopes of feeling better. more

Annette Mennella, Marco Island, FL — foot surgery
For the past several years, I had been in a lot of pain and discomfort with my feet. I developed bunions early on in my 20's. Up to that point, I put up with the discomfort only to realize that it was affecting every part of my body. I am a person that works out, golfs, walks, bikes, etc. These simple tasks were beginning to become a chore. And the worst part is that I could not fit into any shoes or sneakers comfortably. I finally made a decision to look into fixing the problem through surgery. I was fortunate to get one of the best surgeons available (Dr. Andrew Elliott) and his team for the job!! The day of my surgery, Nov. 10, 2010, I was asked to arrive at HSS, register and wait my turn for the bunion correction on my left foot. The operation entailed a complex fix for my problem not just cosmetic. The staff at HSS, from the receptionist to the nurses and anethesiologist, Dr. Elliott, and everyone who worked in the same-day surgery unit, made me feel safe and very comfortable up and until the time of surgery. I was given undivided attention even afterward. My pain was managed so efficiently, I went home that day. more

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Pat Krieger, Hillsdale, NJ — foot surgery
We take for granted how important our feet are to our every day existence. Five years ago, I made the decision to have bunionectomies on both feet to ease the constant pain I experienced while walking. One foot healed well, the other never seemed quite right. The bones in my right foot continued to shift out of alignment to the point where the pain while walking was almost unbearable. After investigating who the BEST orthopedic surgeon was for foot problems, several recommendations led me to a consult with Dr. Jonathan Deland, Chief of the Foot and Ankle Service at HSS. I underwent pretty extensive foot surgery to correct my bone alignment in early October, 2010. The surgery was exactly as Dr. Deland outlined for me, and the care from all members of the staff was superb.

The recovery period was challenging not being mobile, but Dr. Deland and his staff provided excellent post-op support for the next several months. Six months later, I am walking better than I have in years and my foot looks like a new foot! People are shocked when I show them the before and after x-ray pictures. I can't thank Dr. Deland enough. The care I received during my surgical stay at HSS was excellent, your staff is tremendous!

James Secreto,
New Windsor, NY — hip resurfacing surgery
Dr. Edwin Su, put simply - HE IS THE BEST!

Deidre Weiss,
Jackson Heights, NY — total knee replacement
The deterioration of my right knee and need for surgery was rapid. At just 49, my knee was collapsing from arthritis and it was evident that I would soon lose the ability to walk. Walking just one block was excruciatingly painful and brought me to tears. ME! Miss independent! My cousin, a spinal surgeon, highly recommended Dr. Michael Alexiades at HSS. I could not be more pleased with the outcome. I worked hard in the months before surgery. I knew that going in strong could only help me come out strong. This was true. Also true was that I had an excellent surgeon who operates in an exquisite hospital. The level of caring and commitment to patient care and follow up is stellar. Truly, it is a struggle for me to express what a positive experience having a total knee replacement at HSS was for me. My TKR surgery has made me whole again, free from pain, back at the gym, working, and living my life. I regret only that I didn't know there was no reason to be afraid to have the TKR surgery. I lost a lot of sleep and worried too much needlessly.

Donald T. Donofrio, Newton, NJ — spine surgery
DonaldOne late August morning in 2010, I woke up with what felt like a knife stabbing me between the shoulder blades. Over the next few days, the obvious symptoms of a disc herniation manifested themselves, including the most frightening for me—a loss of 70-75% triceps and chest strength in my right arm. After a few weeks of conservative treatments, which did not resolve the problem, I was ultimately referred to Dr. Bernard Rawlins at HSS by a friend who was not only a healthcare professional, but also a former patient of Dr. Rawlins. I was diagnosed with a severe herniation at C6-7 that was impinging my spinal cord. Without surgery, I risked the loss of use of my arms and/or a continuing degradation of motor function. On October 11, 2010, I entered HSS, where Dr. Rawlins and his team performed ACDF surgery on me. Immediately upon waking, I knew I was better. My first question was, "When can I get back to the gym?" I was discharged the next day. I had to wear a hard collar for about 4 weeks, then a soft collar for a couple of more. more

William Hickey, Elmhurst, NY — spine surgery
I had spine surgery on Feb. 3 of this year. My doctor was Patrick O'Leary. I had a very positive experience at HSS. I would highly recommend this hospital to anyone interested. My care was totally professional. Many thanks to all.

Nancy Guerriere, Hackettstown, NJ — spine surgery
During the past two years both my husband and I have been patients and had spinal surgery at HSS. In Aug. 2008 my husband was diagnosed with a herniated lumbar disc. When treatment with physical therapy, meds and an epidural injection failed to relieve his symptoms and they actually became worse, our doctor advised us to see a spine specialist. I have been a nurse for 35 years in a suburban community hospital and am very sensitive to how patients are treated and was a little wary of a 'big city hospital'. I couldn't have been more wrong. more

Claire Papp, Freehold, NJ — spine surgery
I researched the hospital and physician for 9 months prior to my spinal surgery. I spoke with others who had been patients there. As a nurse, I knew too much, and you know how that can be a stress builder. Through prayer and discernment and an uncanny trust in Dr. O' Leary who I hardly knew, I went through with it. I describe the whole experience, including pre admission testing, as a well-oiled system. The coordination was phenomenal. I was treated with respect, knowledge and caring through the many health professionals I encountered. I felt safe and secure while there. No infections and no complications say to me that HSS is a top-notch healthcare facility.

Laurel Chehayl, Middletown, NJ — spine surgery
When I came to HSS, Dr. Andrew Sama was the third surgeon I had consulted in this geographic area. I am relatively young - just turning 40 next week - but have already had two spinal surgeries. My previous procedures were completed at very competitive Cleveland, Ohio, area hospitals. I always believed that to have an excellent surgeon, one must accept cursory or second-rate hospital care. HSS has absolutely taught me that this is not the case. From the moment I became Dr. Sama's patient, my life took a turn for the better. I became a patient of an entire body of caregivers, educators, and professionals. I felt heard, supported, and informed before, during, and after my spinal fusion surgery in April 2010. The people working in pain management, physical therapy, and nursing gave me the highest quality of care I could have imagined. Even the nutritionist took the time to listen to my (many!) questions and helped me best move forward after the surgery. I am forever grateful to Dr. Sama and everyone who continues to work with me at HSS. I am so happy to know that I not only get a world-class surgeon but the very same level of care from everyone I encounter at HSS.

Jean McCarron,
Tappan, NY — spine procedures, hip surgery, total hip replacement
Having osteoarthritis, I cannot put into words the emotional component tied into the successful result of having total hip replacement on May 4, 2010. I have been treated at HSS since 2001 when Dr. Frank Cammisa performed an IDETA procedure on my spine with very good results in managing my pain. Shortly after that, Dr. Vijay Vad successfully treated my spinal pain with radiofrequency denervation. Because of increased hip pain around 2004, Dr. Vad referred me to Dr. Coleman who performed hip labrum removal–successfully. Dr. Coleman in 2007 found that I required elbow tendon surgery–also successful. My hip pain was treated again by Dr. Vijay Vad who injected my right hip periodically to control severe pain. Then, in May 2010, my right hip was replaced by Dr. Paul Pellicci. After THR, I was able to return to my job on June 9. I cannot believe the relief I feel after having so much pain in my right hip. In fact, my spine is not in as much pain as I am usually accustomed to. This is a LIFE changing result. It is with sincere appreciation that I am forwarding this information. The HSS staff, from surgery to the PACU is so devoted that I will never forget them. PT Rebeccah, Kristy, Svetlana and all of the staff in recovery. Dr. Pellicci, I am walking, walking and walking. Thank you. And to Tess, Dr. Vad, Dr. Coleman's office staff: when I was in severe pain you helped me more than I can say.

Joseph Gellar,
Stamford, CT — various surgeries
I had numerous surgeries/procedures beginning March 2009 and ending October 2010. I am deeply grateful for the care, concern and excellent surgery by Dr. Russell E. Windsor and his team. He was so kind and helpful in getting me whole again. Barry Brause and his staff were kind, caring, thoughtful and attended so carefully to me. Alicia Fisher and her amazing team were the kindest most caring staff I could have hoped for. Each hospital stay, I requested and received the 7th floor because the staff was awesome. I have recommended HSS and my physicians to friends.

Alicia Carrano, Smithtown, NY — hip replacement
On November 6, 2010, I had a left hip replacement at Hospital for Special Surgery. Prior to my surgery, I was having difficulty walking, standing straight and just doing everyday life activities. I was born without a hip socket and also have RA which caused my hip to become bone on bone. Since I had the surgery I have gotten my life back. I was up and walking on December 20, 2010. It was the best Christmas present I could have received. I am able to to take care of my 12 year old son and be able to keep up with him. He plays football and it was so difficult for me to walk across the field just to watch him play. Now I am looking forward to next season so I can enjoy walking across the field to see him play. I can take walks while my son rides his bike. I can stand straight up without pain and I'm able to sleep at night without pain. You do not realize, prior to surgery, how much pain you are in until you have the surgery. And then you realize how much of your life you were giving up because of your hip. more

Helaine Randerson,
Princeton, NJ — total knee replacement
I am 71 years old and was a passionate traveler and art lover, until I became so knock-kneed with arthritis that I was virtually housebound. My first total knee replacement was October 2010; the second was December. My first museum visit in years (Secrets of the Silk Road) happened in mid-March 2011. (A cane proved unnecessary, but I still take one along when in unknown turf). Milling around around in crowds peering at ancient artifacts doesn't make for a stunning image to illustrate my first steps back to the life I love, but keep in mind that 2-1/2 hours standing on hard museum floors is a good test of knee recovery. I'm probably not going to travel the Silk Road but am progressing enough to start planning a trip to Italy. My experience with HSS couldn't have been better. I am happy to talk to anyone who wants a patient's-eye-view of TKR at HSS.

Deborah Graziosi,
Plainview, NY — foot surgery
I was very nervous the morning of my foot surgery. I walked into HSS and the waiting area was very nice and comfortable. The gentleman that greeted me was very pleasant. Once inside to triage area I was greeted with such nice and cheerful nurses. The hospital is so clean and everyone is so pleasant. My doctor, Dr. Andrew Elliott was great and my foot has healed wonderfully. I am so pleased with the whole experience. Thank you.

Jeff Dereki,
New York, NY — spine surgery
Jeff SkiingI went to HSS for the second time in seven years to treat a lumbar disc condition. From the initial exam to the epidural treatment, I could not have felt more confident. I am a healthy and active 72 year-old male. With two months of physical therapy, I put on my skis and enjoyed a sport my wife and I share.

Dr. Gerald C. Benjamin, Saratoga Springs, NY — shoulder surgery
When I learned that I needed surgery to repair my torn rotator cuff in order to continue to practice dentistry at a very high level, I asked my physical therapist in Saratoga Springs who was the BEST surgeon to repair my shoulder. Without missing a beat he responded, "Dr. David Altchek at Hospital for Special Surgery." The next day I called Dr. Alchek's office to start the process of scheduling the consult and surgery. Susan and I reported to the intake unit two hours prior to surgery to take all of our essential information. I was placed in a room, undressed and waited for my scheduled surgery to take place. At least eight people came into my room to ask my name and what procedure I was having performed so that there was no possibility that a mistake could occur. When Dr. Altchek met me, he marked my right shoulder in pen so that everyone understood what procedure was to take place. Two anesthesiologists came into my room to review my procedure so that they could assure me that I would be comfortable throughout my surgery. more

Robert Malafronte,
Sag Harbor, NY — hip & knee replacement
HSS is the best; I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone. My surgeon, Dr. Chitranjan Ranawat, has had a life transforming effect on me and my family. I thank God everyday for having him as my doctor. He has done both of my hips and recently both my knees. I am truly blessed to have him as my doctor and surgeon! I do not know where I would be today without him and his team, they gave me my life back. Thank you Dr. Ranawat and HSS!

Aristotel Papatrefon,
Rockville Centre, NY — total knee replacement
I required total knee replacement of my left knee. On Nov 2, 2010, I had my replacement. The operation took approximately one hour and I was home three days after the surgery. My treatment and care at HSS was exemplary. In less than five months after surgery, I am fully capable and have returned to my full work schedule without any pain.

Marielaina Gless, Massapequa, NY — spinal fusion
On 9/16/10 I arrived to have a discectomy and 2 level fusion in my cervical spine with Dr. Charles B. Goodwin. The entire process from the time I arrived was quite impressive. HSS is run like a well-oiled machine and you almost feel like you are checking into a hotel. The atmosphere that is also offered to your family members is quite comfortable and accomodating. The pre-op was incredible. One person specifically dedicated to the IV, another person for dressing, and so forth. The anesthesiologist came in and was quite thorough and addresssed the pre- and post-op pain meds quite well. Then Dr. Goodwin came in and we went down to the OR. After the surgery, I stayed in the PACU till 3pm the next day. Anytime I rang the bell, 3 nurses came running. I have had many surgeries and stayed in many different hospitals but never experienced care like I did at HSS. I have been recommending it and bragging about it ever since. So, I am fusing nicely 6 months later. I feel great and all is well.

Nancy Silberman,
Farmingdale, NJ — spinal fusion
I had a two level spinal fusion on L4L5 and L5S1 in September of 2010. While I am still on the mend, I am glad I selected Dr. Frank P. Cammisa out of the five doctors I saw elsewhere. I liked his procedure and the way he explained it. I know he is very busy, but he had time to explain everything. Questions that I had later were always returned via email in a timely manner. Also, I was very grateful for the superb nursing care at HSS. For my first time staying at a hospital for a week, I was put at ease by the nurses. Both the day nurses and night nurses were wonderful to me. When I came home and had questions about follow-up care, Yvonne Rosario always answered my questions and reassured me when I needed reassuring. The physician assistants Theresa and Vanessa are great, too.

Lana Bakhash, Great Neck, NY — knee surgery
I had a very serious accident in Israel this past summer where I broke both of my patellas. After surgery in Israel and staying a week in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, it was recommended that I come back home to New York and see Dr. David Helfet at HSS. I was lucky enough to get an appointment for the morning after my arrival. Needless to say, it was an extremely stressful trip back home. Flying for 12 hours without any braces on my legs for support, I couldn't wait to land in my hometown. At 8:30 the following morning I was wheeled in and welcomed to HSS by anyone and everyone I needed help from. Up on the second floor I was greeted by Dr. Helfet's staff and fellows. I was comforted and reassured that I was in good hands now and on the road to recovery. After having xrays done by extremely experienced technicians, I was then back in the doctor's exam room with a team of wonderful professional people. Everyone was more than comforting, and they all took the time to explain the entire process to me. Dr. Helfet was able to promise me that I would be able to walk normally again, and even dance at my daughter's wedding in the months to come. I was put in braces, and given instructions on physical therapy and left with such a wonderful feeling, one which I hadn't experienced since my accident. more

Sandra Farber,
New York, NY — knee replacements
I had two knee replacements, one each stay, at HSS. I was pain-free thanks to intravenous pain medication. This greatly helped my frame of mind stay positive. The food was not like hospital food. It was actually very good. As a result I have become a fan of Activia yogurt, which I had never tasted before coming to HSS. The hospital itself is beautiful and patient rooms very pleasant. I found the staff to be helpful, respectful and good at their jobs. Before my surgery my right leg veered out from my knee. I now have a straight leg! Overall, it was a pleasure to stay there. And my new name for HSS is Hotel for Special Surgery.

James Perkowski,
Bethpage, NY — hip and knee replacement
I had my right hip replaced in October of 2005 by Dr. Douglas Padgett. He did a fabulous job and I had very little pain after the surgery. I was able to rehab quickly and get back to my life pain free because of Dr. Padgett. In October of 2010 I needed to have my left knee replaced and I went right back to Dr. Padgett. Again, he did a fabulous job. All during rehab, my therapist spoke very highly of the work done at HSS and by Dr. Padgett. Whenever I talk to someone who needs to get a knee or hip replaced I give them Dr. Padgett's name and number.

Anita M. Kneeley,
Brielle, NJ — total knee surgery
I had a total knee replacement in September, 2010. Prior to the surgery, I was in continual pain and was unable to lead an active life. I couldn't climb stairs bilaterally, couldn't walk a full city block without resting, and couldn't get a good night's sleep. The surgery was successful beyond my wildest dreams. I came home on the 4th day using a walker. By the third day I was home, I had discarded the walker for a cane. Within three weeks, I was only using the cane to summon a cab. The integral part of this success was not only the skill of the surgeon and the nursing and therapy care. It was also the pain management team, the coordination with the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, and the internist in the management of medication. An incredible team, starting with the education class prior to surgery. I feel blessed - I am sure that surgery on the other knee will be as successful.

Howard Viuker,
Guttenberg, NJ — spine surgery
After several consultations with specialty surgeons it was determined that the only solution to relieve my excruciating lower back pain was surgery. I spoke with fellow Ceramic Artists who had suffered from similar back problems and the unanimous, overwhelming recommendation was Hospital for Special Surgery. I researched their facilities and Dr. Matthew Cunningham's qualifications, which I was impressed with, and it seemed to be right for me. I spoke with Tina Miller, the assistant to Dr. Cunningham, to introduce myself and the reason for my call. Tina was GREAT! She was very knowledgeable, professional and sympathetic to my problem. Tina handled everything efficiently and gave me a wonderful sense of security. I met with Dr. Cunningham, 24 hours later. He reviewed the MRI's with me and discussed my options in a way that I was able to understand. I was confident to make an informed decision. It became clear to me that I made the right choices in both hospital and doctor. In short, my experience at HSS was exceptional. The staff was great and very attentive to my needs. Thanks to Tina Miller, who made it easy to navigate the system, the professional skills of Dr. Cunningham and everyone I came in contact with at the hospital, they made my experience during a very traumatic time very memorable in the most positive way. My recovery went better than I expected and I am back to throwing pots. No pain!

Chris Pates, East Haven, CT — spine surgery
I am deeply grateful to Dr. Federico Girardi and the extraordinary nursing, diagnostic and rehabilitation teams at the Spine Care Institute at Hospital for Special Surgery. Eight months ago, I ruptured a disc in my lower back sparring in karate. I immediately sought the opinions of two orthopedic surgeons and a neurosurgeon at different academic medical centers in Connecticut. An MRI revealed that disc fragments were pressing on one of the primary nerves that control the hip flexor and quadricep in my right leg. A disc fragment had also severed a vein, causing a hematoma. The surgeons told me I needed a laminectomy, which consists of removing parts of the spine, in order to repair the damaged areas. They told me that after surgery, I would need to give up most elements of my active lifestyle. I could never do karate, snowboard or run again, but if I was fortunate I might be able to continue cycling. I was also told that if left unattended, the atrophy in my leg would continue to progress and that the damage would eventually be permanent. This was simply unacceptable news and I was immediately standing at a crossroads. My wife and I began praying for a better option, for guidance, for hope. more

More testimonials

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Shown above:
Alexandra, ACL reconstruction
Josephine Moore, spine surgery
Joanne Donoghue, knee, hip surgery
Jane Pressman, spine surgery
Julie Fitzgerald, ankle distraction
Chris Pates, spine surgery
Nancy Napurski, ankle distraction

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