If orthopedic surgeons had "frequent flyer" programs, Arturo Ortiz would have built up his share of miles after ankle surgery, two knee replacements and a hip replacement. The 66-year-old retired railroad worker from Crete, Illinois, recalled his first encounter with David Mehl, MD, in 2000 when he broke his ankle before Christmas.
"I had the good fortune to be directed to Dr. Mehl to do the surgery on my ankle," Ortiz said about the orthopedic surgeon with Specialty Physicians of Illinois, LLC, in Olympia Fields, Illinois.
He kept the doctor in mind 10 years later when he needed a knee replacement. Ortiz did repairs for Metra, a commuter railroad, before retiring six years ago. It was a physical job, working on non-level ground, hard surfaces and rocks.
When his own mobility was impacted, he was apprehensive at first to undergo the elective procedure. "After I had it done and went through the therapy, I regained a lot of movement and the pain was gone. When the time came for the second knee replacement, I didn't hesitate. I knew what needed to be done," Ortiz said.
In 2018, Ortiz had Dr. Mehl perform a joint replacement on his right hip. As with his other replacements, he was able to resume normal activities, including the outdoor activities and exercises he enjoys.
Dr. Mehl said it's common for patients to have multiple joint replacements, either two knees or knees and a hip. It isn't just volume that makes Ortiz one of his star patients. "It's important to be compliant with therapy and follow all the directions, and he did that excellent," Dr. Mehl said.
"He did a great job in recovery and that's the key to a great result." Ortiz's niece, Christina Rylander, who works in the physical therapy department at Olympia Fields, keeps him on track with his therapy, adding to the praise he has for Dr. Mehl and his staff. "He's always attentive to any question I have. He's willing to listen and explain any concern that I have. It's a good thing for me. I appreciate that kind of cooperation and attention," Ortiz said. "And he's a Cubs fan, so he's OK.”