Three BayCare Hospitals to Participate in Operation Walk USA

November 30, 2017

Five Patients to Receive Total Joint Replacements at No Cost

CLEARWATER, Fla., (November 30, 2017)— As part of a nationwide effort to help patients in need receive potentially life-changing joint replacement surgery, three BayCare hospitals are providing total joint replacements to five uninsured patients who are living with debilitating joint pain. These patients will be given an early holiday present at no cost to them as three BayCare hospitals --- Mease Dunedin, Morton Plant and St. Anthony’s – are participating in Operation Walk USA.

At Mease Dunedin Hospital, Orthopedic Surgeon David Whiddon, MD, will perform a total knee replacement surgery.

Orthopedic Surgeon Andrew Cooper, MD, will perform a total hip replacement surgery at Morton Plant Hospital.

Michael Wanger, MD, is assisting with pre- and post-operative evaluations and care for both patients.

St. Anthony’s Hospital is helping three patients. Orthopedic Surgeon Kurt Hirshorn, MD, will perform all three surgeries, and Ali Saberi, MD, has seen the patients to clear them for surgery and will see them after the surgery. Due to extenuating circumstances, one of the St. Anthony’s patients has already received surgery. The surgeries are scheduled for the week of December 4.

The doctors, anesthesiologists and radiologists involved are donating their time and expertise, while the hospitals are covering the cost of these surgeries, as well as medicine for 30 days and post-op physical therapy and home health.

Erin Kilgore, Orthopedic Physician Assistant at Morton Plant Hospital, brought Operation Walk USA to Morton Plant Hospital last year. She spent hours finding qualified patients, navigating the patients through the process, lining up doctors to give up their time and expertise, and coordinating hospital and home care. At the end of the process, four individuals had received total joint replacements. 

“Operation Walk is a tangible way to give something of great value – mobility – to someone who needs it, and we are pleased to be able to expand to other hospitals,” said Lou Galdieri, president, Mease Hospitals and executive leader for BayCare’s orthopedic services. “We are grateful for our doctors and team members who are a part of this effort.”

In Florida, four hospitals are participating in Operation Walk USA and three of those are part of BayCare.

Operation Walk USA is an independent medical humanitarian organization that provides free hip or knee replacement surgeries to uninsured patients in the United States who do not qualify for government assistance and are at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. From Dec. 4-9, an estimated 60 patients are scheduled to receive free joint replacements from 40 volunteer orthopedic surgeons at 36 hospitals across the United States. 

About BayCare Health System
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at