LANGHORNE, Pa. (CBS) — This holiday season brings a special kind of medical gift, Operation Walk USA. It provides free surgeries in Bucks County for patients who can’t afford them.
Thirty-five hospitals around the country are part of Operation Walk providing free orthopedic surgeries between Dec. 5-10. It’s
a holiday gift for patients who don’t have insurance or can’t afford the deductibles.
A day after hip replacement surgery Roseanne Swaim is taking the first steps of her new life pain free. “I never thought anything like this would ever happen to me, never,” Swaim said.
She’s 57 years old and lives in Tullytown with her husband. Swaim had degenerative arthritis in her hip.
“It was just very hard, I couldn’t walk, if I wanted to go anywhere we had to use a wheelchair. “
Doctors said hip replacement surgery was the only solution, but with no insurance, Swaim couldn’t afford the operation. “You don’t have insurance nobody wants to help you or take care of you,” Swaim explained.
Except if you’re lucky enough to be selected for Operation Walk.
Eighty patients like Swaim around the country get free joint replacement surgerys.
“It’s been a wonderful, wonderful experience,” says Monica Eckhardt, an administrator at St. Mary Medical Center. She says the hospital is donating surgeries for two patients that would normally cost about $40,000. “It’s part of our mission to give to our community and the gift of mobility what more could you give to somebody,” Eckhardt says.
Swaim says the project is a blessing, giving her a second chance at life.
And now with her parents, Swaim is planning a big Christmas celebration, with the spirit of the season — giving — having a special meaning.
“Gratitude it’s beyond, beyond … this is the biggest holiday Christmas gift, thank-you, blessing all in one,” Roseanne says.
This is St. Mary’s first year participating in Operation Walk. Their surgeons are among 40 nationwide donating their services.