Tom Silva's Story

Total Joint Replacement Program: Transforming Lives One Step at a Time

Tom Silva

South Shore Hospital’s joint replacement program continues to transform the way total joint care is managed. As part of the orthopedic program, all patient touch points across the entire continuum of care are addressed, including: pre-surgery education, post-operative outpatient physical therapy, realistic expectation setting with patients, and a seamless handoff across all individuals and departments.

Plymouth resident Tom Silvia is no stranger to pain and endurance. In fact, the now active 67-year-old suffered from polio at the age of six. Initially paralyzed from the neck down, Tom endured years of therapy, spent a week in an iron lung and worked his way from a wheelchair to crutches in a year’s time. After close to a decade of hard work and perseverance, Tom progressed to a healthy, active teenager.

As the years passed, however, arthritis— which stemmed from Tom’s taxing health journey as a young man—caused debilitating joint pain. Within a six-year period, Tom had both hips and one knee replaced with Michael Rowland, MD. “I remember when Tom initially presented to the office. He had researched hip replacements and specifically made an appointment with me. After three total joint replacements, I am certainly very pleased with Tom’s results and improvement in function,” said Dr. Rowland. Michael Rowland, MD, is among the talented group of board-certified orthopedic surgeons who sees patients at South Shore Orthopedics and South Shore Medical Center. He and the entire team of top-caliber joint replacement specialists effectively collaborate to ensure successful outcomes for patients who will benefit from total joint replacement.

 “I was immediately impressed with Dr. Rowland’s great bedside manner,” said Tom. “He was informative from the start, even going out of his way to make sure I knew what to expect next.” Five years after Tom’s first hip replacement, arthritic pain in his knee became unbearable, and he knew it was time to give Dr. Rowland a call. “I knew that I would undoubtedly have another positive and effective experience from start to finish,” Tom said.

Alicia DelPrete, RN, Orthopedic Nurse Navigator, finds joy in assisting patients successfully navigate through the entire continuum of care. “Our goal has been and always will be to guide each patient through a timeline of expectations, and deliver the best possible outcomes in the process,” Alicia said. “Tom is one of those stellar patients, someone who takes instruction and with hard work and dedication, flourishes very quickly.” Just about a year ago, Tom again returned to Dr. Rowland and had another successful total right hip replacement. “The experience was fantastic,” Tom said. “Before leaving South Shore Hospital, my sister came to visit and couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved the dedicated inpatient floor, private rooms, and how warm and attentive the entire nursing staff was.”

Physical therapy is extremely important in the overall outcome of any joint replacement surgery. The goals of physical therapy are to strengthen muscles through controlled exercise, while preventing healing muscles from getting too tight.

 At South Shore Hospital, we believe the patient is the most important partner in the healing process. After surgery, patients are prepared to take an active role in their own care by having physical therapy support in the gym located on the dedicated orthopedic floor. “I was given a series of home exercises starting with 10 repetitions,” Tom said. “By the time I went home on Friday, I was already way ahead of my goal, doing 25 reps twice a day,” he recalled. Tom is now pain-free and living life to the fullest, enjoying leisurely outdoor activities, traveling with his wife of 42 years, and spending quality time with his children and grandchildren.

 South Shore Hospital has been named a Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Those recognized centers demonstrate an expertise in quality care that results in better overall outcomes for patients by meeting objective clinical measures developed with input from expert physicians and medical organizations.

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