Patients without health insurance or who do not qualify for government assistant programs found help from another source Friday. WVU Hospitals was one of 70 hospitals across the nation taking part in Operation Walk USA.
Patients' families said it was a surprise to find out they qualified for the operations.
"My mom went to see Dr. Waxman about her knees and he was like we have this program that we can probably get you into. It just happened very quickly," said Teddi Runner, who was waiting for her mother's surgery to wrap up at the hospital Friday morning.
"My mom came up here for an appointment to see if she can get help through the hospital to make payments and they sent her to Dr. Deets," said Kim Ariola who's mother was also getting surgery. "And whenever he was talking to her and took the x-rays he was telling us about this Operation Walk USA."
The program provided operations for more than 230 patients across the country. Six doctors operated on five patients at WVU.
"Millions of people across the country suffer from debilitating hip and knee arthritis and this gives a great way for patients who normally could never have received to get this basically life changing surgery," said Dr. Benjamin Frye, an Orthopedic Surgeon who helped bring the program to the hospital. "They are able to get through this program."
Operation Walk USA doesn't just assist with the payment of operations. It also helps patients with post-operative care.
"They provided walkers, canes, physical therapy to help with post after it's done to help get her better," said Ariola.
The operations came as a blessing to most of the patients' families.
"She looks at it as just a miracle. You know, a real answer to her prayers," said Runner.
Six patients total received the surgery on Friday December 6. All for arthritic type problems.