Hip Replacement Surgery: An Engineer’s Story

Chris Eichinger, ‘Virginia Mason Lives Up to Its Values’

Chris “Ike” Eichinger and his wife, Zen, can’t say enough good things about his hip replacement at Virginia Mason. “Each person provided the outstanding patient experience we had come to expect.”

Chris “Ike” Eichinger and his wife, Zen, can’t say enough good things about his hip replacement at Virginia Mason. “Each person provided the outstanding patient experience we had come to expect.”

Chris Eichinger and his wife, Azenith, finally built their dream home last year in Olympia. When it was finished, they hired movers but, as often happens, Chris the homeowner did a lot of work, too. He was so active, in fact, that his left hip became very sore. He thought he’d probably pulled a muscle.

Chris went to an orthopedic practice in Olympia, which referred him to an orthopedic surgeon. Chris was diagnosed with a congenital (from birth) bone deformity that was causing pain due to wear and overuse. Chris is only 49, but the deformity was causing problems that would worsen over time. Chris needed a total left hip replacement.

Due to the deformity of the bone, replacement surgery would be more complicated than usual. It was recommended that Chris go to Virginia Mason and see Kevin MacDonald, MD, orthopedic surgeon, who is expert in such surgeries.

“From the moment my wife and I walked into Virginia Mason, we were delighted,” recalls Chris. “Everyone was warm and courteous. Dr. MacDonald clearly explained what would happen and answered all of our questions.”

Surgery was scheduled for Dec. 10. But three weeks before the surgery, Chris’s primary care doctor told him he needed a cardiac stress test before having surgery. “I have a family history of heart disease,” says Chris, “and because I was almost 50, the doctor felt it was prudent.” However, that meant having the test around Thanksgiving; no appointments were available in Olympia before his scheduled surgery.

Chris decided to call Judy Laigo, who had scheduled his hip surgery. “She’s wonderful. After I explained the situation, she immediately went to work and within about an hour we had an appointment for a cardiac stress test at Virginia Mason. This is what I would call going above and beyond.” He had the test Dec. 2 at Virginia Mason Hospital & Seattle Medical Center. “The team that took care of me was fantastic — each person provided the outstanding patient experience that we had come to expect from Virginia Mason,” Chris says.

Chris had hip replacement surgery Dec. 10. Everything went well, and he has high praise for Dr. MacDonald and the surgical team. He recovered in the hospital for three days where, he says, his experience was equally outstanding. “As I ventured out of my room to walk as part of physical therapy, I would pass staff — nurses, patient care technicians, housekeepers — and each and every one smiled and offered encouragement. Even though they were busy, they took a moment to brighten my day.”

And it didn’t end there. When he was home again, Chris received several calls from members of the care team, “not just to check my condition, but to ask how I was doing. I had a health problem as a child that put me in the hospital fairly often, so I’ve experienced a lot of different places. Virginia Mason is unique. You live up to your values.”

Chris is an engineer who works for Intel as a semiconductor designer. He notes that at Intel, “We do not see obstacles — we see opportunities. It was a welcomed surprise to see that methodology so well demonstrated by all of the outstanding people at Virginia Mason.”

We are proud to share stories from the 2013 Virginia Mason Annual Report. Read about our patients, the treatment they received at Virginia Mason and how it has improved their lives.

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