SALT LAKE CITY - Doctors from Hofmann Arthritis Institute donated their time and services to provide free surgeries to eight people from Utah and Idaho as part of Operation Walk USA 2012.
An estimated 48 million Americans live with arthritic disease that often makes the simplest of daily tasks difficult. The most cost-effective way of helping those suffering from the degenerative disease is hip or knee replacements. But those surgeries can still be very expensive.
Operation Walk is a non-profit organization that provides free hip and knee surgery for people with debilitating arthritis and no medical insurance.
The surgeries are done once a year at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center and the Center for Precision and Joint Replacements by staff and orthopedic surgeons from the Hofmann Institute.
This year, eight people received joint replacement operations that included all level of treatments at no cost to the patients.
Park City cab driver Bill Schmitt is one of those patients. He received a hip replacement just one month after learning about the program.
"These girls that I had driven up to Stein Erickson Lodge at the end of the night saw me get out of my vehicle to open the door for them, and noticed that I was walking with a crutch," said Schmitt. "They asked me what the circumstance was, and I told them that there was no cartilage in my right hip and it had been going on for six years and they said, 'We have somebody you have to meet,' and that was the Hofmann Institute. That was on November 3."