Uninsured Hagerstown woman receives knee replacement surgery for free


For 55-year-old Monique Evans, getting a knee replacement was something she didn’t think was possible, but thanks to “Operation Walk,” she has two new knees.

Being active wasn’t just something that Evans enjoyed, it was a lifestyle.

“I did a lot of basketball and biking” said total knee replacement recipient, Monique Evans

Her active lifestyle soon became the reason for her failing knees.

“At one point, I was playing for two teams, so you know my life was sports at that time,” said Evans.

In addition to her health issues, being uninsured posed its own difficulty.

“In the clinic, I see more individuals that have more advanced diseases. I think this can afford them to get the opportunity to get something done more permanently,” said Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Alvaro Cabezas.

When Evans got the call from Dr. Cabezas, she knew her life was about to change.

“When I got the call that I’ve been approved for the program, I literally like broke down and started crying because of the pain. Everyday, I’m walking in pain,” said Evans.

Evans was selected by doctors from Meritus Medical Center to participate in Operation Walk USA, which is a program that links uninsured patients in need of joint replacement surgeries with surgeons that are willing to provide the surgeries at no cost.

“Sometimes, anesthesia hospitals can typically go between $20,000 and $50,000. That’s a lot of the insurance that covers a lot of that cost,” said Dr. Cabezas.

Just two days after her total knee replacement surgery, Dr. Cabezas said that Evans already shows improvement.

“She did excellent, and she started walking right away. It just makes such a difference to give a person that quality of life back again,” said Dr. Cabezas.

“So, now, I can get that bike out of the shed, get on it and actually leave the area,” said Evans.

It just takes one step at time.

So far, Meritus Medical Center has been doing one free surgery a year but doctors said that number could go up.

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