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Mary Nealon

New York, NY
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I had bilateral total knee replacement on 2/3/2013 with Dr. Steve Haas. I happened to just come across a video interview w/ Dr. Haas, another patient, a physical therapist & physiatrist all talking about how HSS' amazing team of practitioners across disciplines work together to help patients manage the stages of their orthopedic condition, pain management & surgery if/when inevitably needed. This is going to sound strange but as I watched the video, I found myself thinking back fondly about my pre-surgical, surgical & post-surgical experience w/ Dr. Haas.

Since then I have had 2 other major surgeries at HSS: one involving thoracic/lumbar/sacral correction w/ fusion and rods for scoliosis, stenosis removal from my spinal cord; the other involving total left shoulder reversal replacement. I often joke w/ friends or colleagues that I get my primary care at HSS. In reality, in a kind of way, that is what has happened over the years. I think back of how terrified I was to have both knees replaced at once even though I knew when it was necessary and how patient, kind & calm Dr. Haas was answering a list of 32 questions I came up with for him. As he said, we can simplify this to 5 categories of questions, and then proceeded to take all the time I needed to discuss each one. I never for a minute felt any pressure to have surgery or to not, but was given all the information I needed to make an informed decision that, in the end, I was confident about. I'd never run a marathon or given birth to a child, but as I went through the recovery & rehabilitation process, I began to think of it as the challenge of running a marathon and giving birth at the same time. Because I had both knees done at once, I was to go to Burke for acute in-patient rehab which was amazing. By the time I left there 11 days later, I was able to walk across the long PT room cane-free, bouncing a Pilates ball as I walked. After Burke, I continued rehab/PT with HSS, did my daily exercises 3 times/day, and was fully ready to return to work seeing patients in a children's healthcare clinic 3 months to the day from my surgical date.

Dr. Haas was my miracle surgeon for brand new knees. Since then I've been treated by several physiatrists, had several different kinds of PT (huge shout-out to Alyson Mackay at the new HSS Hudson Yards location) I've had 2 other major HSS surgeries since then, but thanks to Dr. Haas, I've never come up with a list of 32 questions again for either. I am so grateful to Dr. Haas for his extraordinary surgical skill, kindness, patience, and the successful outcomes with all my HSS surgeries. I've been blessed w/ 3 top-expert surgeons each in their own right and the amazing care I received in between from many different orthopedic providers over the last seven years. I now know that orthopedic surgery is about finding one's best surgeon and the patient's determination and hard work afterwards to achieve and celebrate each milestone along the way.