Top-notch health care boosts quality of life |

Top-notch health care boosts quality of life

A lucky coincidence of new medical technology and a specially trained surgeon means that much younger people who need hip replacements can now move forward with the surgery locally.

A new titanium and ceramic ball and joint, which is expected to last 20 years or longer, is on the market, and Orthopaedic Associates of Glenwood and Aspen worked hard to recruit a surgeon trained to implant the device.

The medical partnership snagged Dr. Tom St. John, a bright young surgeon who is now working to make life more comfortable for patients in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Until now, such replacements were limited to patients expected to live no more than 10 years, because the implants wore out within a decade and the procedure can’t be repeated.

The arrival of the new hip replacement surgery in the valley is an example of the high level of medical expertise residents enjoy in Glenwood Springs and Rifle, thanks to the leadership of Valley View Hospital and Grand River Medical Center.

These hospitals and their colleagues in medical practices know this is a good place to live, and they have capitalized on the county’s quality of life to lure top-notch health care providers.

The hospitals are also making vast improvements in facilities.

Patients in Rifle now have a first-class new hospital, thanks to the vision of the Grand River Hospital District board and the district’s taxpayers. The $16.5 million hospital includes doctors offices, therapy and rehabilitation clinics, with an atmosphere that’s closer to a hotel than a hospital.

Valley View will launch another major expansion this year to expand its emergency room and family birthplace.

It is easy to take these top-quality health care providers and facilities for granted. We don’t truly know their value until we or a loved one needs their care in dealing with an injury or illness.

Then we might remember the words of Scott Runyan of Glenwood Springs, one of Dr. St. John’s recent hip replacement patients, who said, “I feel very lucky to have been able to have him perform my surgery. I feel like I got the A-Team.”

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