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Bones & Joints

Above and Beyond: Hip Replacement Patient Receives Exceptional Care

Last updated: March 7, 2024

For ThedaCare patient Dawn Grimmer, trying to get help for her disabling hip pain had long led to misery and frustration.

Dawn compares her hip pain to filling a shoe with gravel and trying to walk normally.

“I was at home all the time going into a deep depression because I couldn’t do anything,” she says. “I just sat at home after work with ice. I didn’t go anywhere with my family, nothing.”

When Dawn spoke to her doctor about the pain, she received a referral to a different orthopedic office. The doctor there said her hip looked terrible but that she needed to lose weight before they could consider surgery.

Dawn lost 35 pounds, but then the doctor recommended she lose another 60 to 90 pounds. She began to lose hope because she was stuck in a vicious cycle of being unable to exercise due to the pain, which in turn inhibited her weight loss.

Hope Regained

Through a chance encounter, Dawn finally found the help she needed. Her husband was watching a Green Bay Packers game at a bar when he met a ThedaCare team member who told him about Dr. David Liebelt, an Orthopedic Surgeon with ThedaCare Orthopedic Care.

Dawn met with Dr. Liebelt for a consult. Three weeks later, in December 2021, she underwent hip replacement surgery, a procedure she calls “lifesaving.”

“He didn’t care about my weight,” Dawn says of Dr. Liebelt. “He knew I needed help.”

“Dawn understood her diagnosis relatively well and knew she would benefit from a hip replacement, but she had been told by many other surgeons that she wasn’t a candidate due to her weight,” Dr. Liebelt says.

Being overweight can lead to increased surgery complications, he continues. However, if the issue is properly addressed, surgery can restore mobility, reduce pain, and allow someone to be more active.

‘He’s My Hero’

“To see her move around without pain and get back to her lifestyle and do the things she wants to do is extremely rewarding,” Dr. Liebelt says.

Dawn has experienced just that. She can now run around with her dogs, goof around with her kids, and take walks.

“It’s changed my life. I can be me again,” Dawn says. “My only regret is not going to ThedaCare first and finding Dr. Liebelt. He’s my hero.”

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Tags: Hip Pain hip replacement obesity orthopedics

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