osell Wakero was an outgoing boy, playing soccer in his home country
of Ethiopia until he began to develop kyphoscoliosis, a series of severe
curves in his spine, toward the end of fifth grade. The curves worsened
as Mosell grew; his shoulders became crooked and his back arched over.
At age 15, after finding no relief through medical treatment in Ethiopia, he and his
family felt hopeless until help arrived from nearly 8,000 miles away.
“I knew that I could help him,” Dr. Puno said.
He offered to donate his services, as did the support staff and
anesthesiologist. The Children’s Hospital Foundation stepped in,
providing support that would allow Mosell to get the care he needed.
"Especially with Dr. Puno, I believe I’m in good hands,” Mosell said during an
interview with the Courier-Journal before his surgery.
Dr. Puno performed the procedure, which involved inserting steel rods to help
straighten Mosell’s spine, as well as some bone fusions, at the children’s hospital
in August 2015. It took nearly nine hours.
“It’s all about being able to help him live a normal life. I feel grateful for being able
to step into the lives of Mosell and other children and change them for the better.
This job has a lot of rewards,” Dr. Puno said.
After the surgery Mosell couldn’t wait to live the life that had escaped him for the
previous five years, including playing sports and spending time with friends. He said
he’d always remember and be grateful for those who came to his rescue.
“I am so thankful for everything Dr. Puno and the children’s hospital have done
for me and my family,” Mosell said. “It’s like a light shining from the sky on us.”
Price Cooper stays fit by playing tennis, jogging and riding his bike. Now in his mid-40s, he began experiencing hip pain in his late 30s. He tried physical therapy, acupuncture and steroid injections — until the pain got to be too much.
“The tipping point was when it came down to me just not sleeping,” Cooper said. “I can deal with pain and discomfort, but when I could not consistently get a good night’s rest, I said I’ve got to do something about this.”
It’s not entirely common for younger people to develop such severe arthritis. If a person has sustained an injury or had years of wear and tear on a joint from sports or other activities, having serious pain at Cooper’s age is expected.
After seeing an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in hip and pelvic conditions, Cooper was faced with weighing short-term options to stave off the pain or a permanent solution, which was hip replacement surgery.
“Nonsurgical treatment is always the first step,” said Jonathan Yerasimides, M.D., Norton Orthopaedic Specialists – Brownsboro, Cooper’s orthopaedic surgeon.
“A high percentage of patients will get real relief from simple things like anti-inflammatory medications, therapy, cortisone injections and activity modification. Sometimes these things can take people 6 to 12 months, sometimes one to two years, before their symptoms come back and are severe enough that they’ll
want to undergo hip replacement surgery.”
For Cooper, getting back to his high level of activity was goal No. 1.
“For older patients who are less active, getting back quality of life is very simple,” Dr. Yerasimides said. “For patients like Price, it’s a bit more challenging. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get back that active lifestyle. It just takes a little more work.”
Cooper said those considering surgery will face some ups and downs along the way, but the end result is well worth it.
“If surgery is inevitable, don’t put it off,” Cooper said. “Study it, get comfortable with it, know what you’re up against, but then go ahead and get it done.”
Norton Healthcare made a commitment to fund the purchase of new, safer football helmets for Jefferson County Public Schools’ football players as well as expand concussion education and testing.
“While a player can sustain a concussion wearing any type of helmet, the quality of the helmet can greatly reduce that risk,” said Tad D. Seifert, M.D., neurologist and director of the sports concussion program for Norton Healthcare.
Norton Healthcare made it possible for schools to replace unsafe helmets with four-star helmets, which are considered “very good” using the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings system.
In addition, Norton Healthcare committed to providing ImPACT testing (Immediate
Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) for all football players in JCPS middle
and high schools and all JCPS high school students who play high-impact sports.
Norton Healthcare • P.O. Box 35070 • Louisville, KY 40232-5070 • NortonHealthcare.com