Chuck and Kathy MacLeod
Chuck and Kathy MacLeod

Knee surgeries at Michael Garron Hospital bring relief and optimism

Chuck MacLeod’s knee pain was so excruciating that he couldn’t walk more than 60 steps at a time. Following orthopaedic surgery, he’s on track to resume the activities he loves.

“It was very exhausting physically and mentally just to walk to my car. I’d be out of breath,” says Chuck, 65, recalling the toll his deteriorating knees were taking on his quality of life.

The Barrie-area resident had been living with severe knee pain for five years. It was compromising his ability to lead the active lifestyle he enjoyed. Travelling with his wife, Kathy; golfing with friends; helping his daughter at the funeral home where she works – it was all becoming impossible.

Chuck grew increasingly frustrated as he struggled for years to book a knee replacement surgery close to home. That’s when his family doctor suggested Dr. Justues Chang, an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Michael Garron Hospital who could operate within a few months.

With fellowship training in joint reconstruction and orthopaedic trauma, Dr. Chang is a member of our hospital’s Division of Orthopaedic Surgery.

The division is a leader in Ontario, delivering life-changing care to patients from across the province. We’re well-known for collaborating with healthcare system partners to reduce wait times; for providing total joint replacement as a day surgery; and for training the next generation of orthopaedic surgeons.Tailored approachChuck had an instant rapport with Dr. Chang, describing him as friendly and responsive. “He’s a great, down-to-earth kind of guy,” says Chuck, adding that it was a “huge relief” to secure a surgery date.

Chuck especially appreciated how Dr. Chang tailored the surgical approach to his circumstances, which ultimately meant having both of his knees partially replaced. 

In Canada, partial replacements comprise just 9% of knee replacement surgeries, with the remainder being total knee replacements. It would have been understandable if Dr. Chang recommended the latter.

But because the outside portions of Chuck’s knees were in fine shape, he could benefit from partial replacement. This is associated with a smaller incision, less pain following surgery, faster recovery, and a knee that feels more natural and has a better range of motion.
First-rate care on a first-name basis

Collecting classic vehicles is among Chuck’s many hobbies.
Collecting classic vehicles is among Chuck’s many hobbies.

Dr. Chang operated on Chuck’s left knee first. “By the second week I was walking with a cane and I had great flexibility in my knee,” says Chuck, adding that he was pleased he could return to work as a heavy equipment operator within a month.

Six months later, Dr. Chang partially replaced Chuck’s right knee.

Following each of his surgeries, Chuck stayed overnight in our new Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre. His single-occupancy room had a “huge” window that let in plenty of natural light, helping him feel at ease.

The nurses were cheerful and attentive. “If I needed anything, I’d just hit the call button and they were right there,” he notes.

“I can’t say enough about all the staff at Michael Garron Hospital. Whether it was a patient registration clerk, an imaging technologist or a porter, everyone was upbeat.”

Things are looking up“I’m going to have full mobility. There’s no doubt about it,” says Chuck.

He and Kathy aren’t wasting any time making plans. They’ve already got their eyes set on a trip to Europe, where Chuck looks forward to “walking without pain.”

And quite likely, as he strolls the streets of Paris, Chuck will take a moment to reflect on the difference that Dr. Chang and everyone at Michael Garron Hospital made in his life.

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