Going the Distance
Most people are willing to travel a bit to ensure they receive the best health care but Florida resident Kathy Brophy is in a class by herself. She travels quite a ways: 1,093 miles to be exact. That is the distance between her home in Pembroke Pines, Florida and the Orthopaedic Institute at UM St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. She wouldn't go anywhere else for the frequent orthopedic surgeries she has needed for the past 33 years.
Kathy, an associate vice-president and comptroller of Florida International University, inherited her mother's genes that made her predisposed for osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones wears down over time. In Kathy's case, however, she was suffering from the severe pain of osteoarthritis by the time she was only 30 years old. She found it difficult to engage in any vigorous physical activity.
Living in Baltimore in 1985, Kathy sought out Towson Orthopaedic Associates at UM St. Joseph Medical Center for treatment. "I knew them by reputation and I also knew I had a complicated condition, by being so young," she says. "I was so lucky to meet Dr. Ken Gertsen (now retired), Dr. Jeffrey Brodie and Dr. David Dalury. These physicians are the "best of the best" in their field. I have needed seven procedures on my feet and Dr. Brodie is the only doctor I will let near them," laughs Kathy. "When my knee became an issue, Dr. Dalury took over. Knee replacements don't last forever so he wanted to try less invasive procedures, putting off a total replacement as long as possible."
Incredibly, Dr. Dalury was able to manage Kathy's condition for 17 years through therapy and less invasive procedures. By 2015, though, Kathy and Dr. Dalury decided she needed the left knee replaced and three years later, in December 2018, she had a full replacement on her right knee. "Both times, the results have been fantastic. Three days post op, I was fine on just Tylenol."
"The care at St. Joe's is superb. People don't realize that the actual surgery is only one part of the experience. I've worked in medical centers and I know the very real dangers of infection and other complications. Dr. Brodie and Dr. Dalury care about their patients from the second they come through the door, until long after they return home. This is what a community hospital is all about. I have complete peace of mind when I'm in their care and will happily travel over 1,000 miles to see them."
In her late 50s today, Kathy has quite a bucket list of plans, now that she has new knees. Taking advantage of the fine Florida weather, Kathy is working toward paddle boarding and pickleball. "There is nothing to stop me now. I couldn't have done these sports when I was 30. Thanks to St. Joe's it really is never too late."