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Quality of Life


Cliff Wallace had avoided going to the doctor for much of his life. The former high school football player was now in his late thirties. However, injuries that plagued him 20 years ago, but for the most part, went untreated, were beginning to catch up.

Over the last three years, the pain had become increasingly worse. "The last few years, I spent on pain killers," said Cliff. "Eventually I couldn't sleep. I couldn't stand or sit without pain."

The inability to sit for long periods of time was becoming a problem because of what Cliff does for a living; he is a promotion producer for a local television news station. His office is filled with multiple screens glowing in the dark as he slices and splices digital video; a task that requires him to sit at a desk.

Cliff finally had enough in the summer of 2010 and went to his doctor. "He took an X-ray and immediately said there was something wrong," said Cliff. Before he even referred me to a specialist, he told me I would have to have a hip replacement."

Cliff said his doctor wasn't sure what was to blame for the deterioration in his hip, but believed some of his sports injuries played a part. He didn't know the exact cause; he also wasn't sure who could fix it." I didn't know anybody, I didn't know who would be good and who wouldn't," said Cliff. "I asked my doctor and he pointed me to Dr. Riley."

"When I looked at his bio online, I wasn't initially sure about him," said Cliff. "I'm a Texas Longhorn and Dr. Riley is a University of Louisville graduate, so I wasn't sure we'd see eye to eye on things not including football."

Meeting with Mark Riley, MD, with St. Joseph Orthopaedic Associates helped calm his fears. Around the time Cliff was getting used to the idea of a hip replacement, he heard about St. Joseph's new ranking by HealthGrades.

HealthGrades is an independent healthcare ratings organization that publishes a yearly quality study. The organization had just announed that based on patient outcomes at 5,000 hospitals, over three year, St. Joseph orthopedic services were rated number one in the state and among the top 5% of hospitals nationwide for patient outcomes.

"It gave me a ton of confidence," said Cliff. "The more I investigated and talked to people, the more comfortable I felt about it."

Cliff's hip replacement surgery was on the 27th of December. Although a tough former football player, the idea of going under knife wasn't comforting to Cliff. "I was pretty scared. I had no idea what was going to happen, but they made sure I got as much information as I needed and knew everything about what would happen," he said.

Nearly two months later, Cliff was back at work. He says "the quality of my life now is so much better than it's been over the last two or three years. I can walk, stand and sit without pain."

Cliff has since recommended St. Joseph's orthopedic services to friends.

"They took such good care of me, made sure I knew the nurses and which one was working that shift. If I had any issues or any pain or even needed a glass of water, they were right there."

Orthopedic services, which include spine surgery and joint replacement, were not the only areas recognized by HealthGrades. St. Joseph also ranked #7 in Texas for coronary interventional procedures, a very common procedure to help improve blood flow to the heart in cardiac patients. St. Joseph also received 5-star rankings for carotid surgery, appendectomies, and hip fracture repair.


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