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Reaching New Heights: Knee Replacement Surgery for a Professional Hiker

When the pain in Frederick L. Jacobson's knees began to serously impede his mobility, he didn't have to look very far for a referral. "I belong to the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, and many of my friends there had already had their knees replaced," he says. "They unanimously recommended that I go to Hospital for Special Surgery."

For Mr. Jacobson, 70, getting back on his feet as quickly as possible was essential: As the founder of Fred Jacobson Aline Trails, he has spent 35 years personally leading hiking groups through the Swiss and Italian Alps every summer, and spends every winter downhill and cross-country skiing.

He was referred to Attending Orthopedic Surgeon Russell E. Windsor, MD, who performed simultaneous bilateral knee replacement surgery. Mr. Jacobson says that, in addition to having "high respect for Dr. Windsor's surgical skills," he was very pleased with his overall experience at the Hospital, adding that everyone with whom he came in contact was helpful and cheerful.

After Mr. Jacobson left the Hospital, an HSS social worker helped place him in an acute rehabilitation facility. Mr. Jacobson says he was highly motivated during the rehabilitation process and that his dedication paid off when - seven months after surgery - he was once again leading hikes in the Alps.

During his tenure as a Special Surgery patient, Mr. Jacobson has also been treated by Associate Attending Physician Sergio Schwartzman, MD, and Assistant Attending Orthopedic Surgeon Edwin P. Su, MD. "I think the world of Dr. Schwartzman, and Dr. Su has just been wonderful," says Mr. Jacobson.

When he is not traveling, Mr. Jacobson gives back to HSS by volunteering at the Hospital each week. Mr. Jacobson says he genuinely believes that, in helping others, he's getting more than he is giving. "I've really enjoyed meeting people from a wide variety of backgrounds," he says. "And when I saw what a cross-section of people the Hospital attracts, it further motivated me to want to support HSS."

According to Mr. Jacobson, his experience at HSS truly turned his life around. "Before the surgery, I had to stop taking the anti-inflammatory medications that had been helping to control my pain," he recalls. "I could barely cross the street and had to decide whether going outside to pick up the newspaper would be worth the pain it would cause."

To express his gratitude, Mr. Jacobson as included a bequest to Hospital for Special Surgery in his will. "I can't think of any other institution that has been more meaningful to me," says Mr. Jacobson. "I believe in the Hospital - I see the miracles they achieve and the quality of life they restore."