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  • Patient: Rodolfo
  • Category: Knee

“ I am so grateful for all the help from Hoag Orthopedic Institute... They gave me my life back.”

For the past 25 years, Rodolfo Franco of Santa Ana has been lifting and moving furniture and appliances up and down stairs for his job with a moving company. But his livelihood was threatened when his boss sent him home, due to a painful torn meniscus that refused to heal.

"We almost lost our house," recalls the father of five. "I couldn't do anything. I could barely walk. Rest and medications didnt help. The pain in my right knee just kept getting worse."

Rodolfo had always been active, playing soccer throughout his childhood, 20s and 30s, and he loved kicking the ball with his children. He recalls having an injury on the field nearly 10 years ago that caused his left knee to start making a popping sound. About five years ago he had to completely quit playing as the pain progressed.

Fortunately, a friend from his soccer team told Rodolfo about AccessOC. The organization brings together volunteer medical specialists who donate their expertise to treat people in need. HOI and its orthopedic surgeons have provided several free surgeries over the past year for uninsured patients referred by AccessOC - including Rodolfo's. His knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure, was performed last June by an HOI orthopedic surgeon at Main Street Specialty surgery Center in Orange.

"The doctor had advised me that my knee wouldn't heal without surgery. I was a little scared, but everyone at the surgery center was reassuring and kind. They told me not to worry; I was going to be fine. They gave me the confidence I needed," he recalls.

Rodolfo went home the same day, and only needed crutches for the first week. He closely followed the exercise instructions he was given to rehabilitate his knee so that he could quickly recover.

"I had to return to work," says Rodolfo. "I was back on the job a month and half later, but still taking it easy, and after another month I was stronger. Thank God I'm now completely back to normal."

Rodolfo's friends have tried to convince him to come back to the soccer team, but his wife is afraid he'll get hurt again. Instead, he enjoys walking with her, riding bikes with his family and watching his kids play soccer.

"I am so grateful for all the help from Hoag Orthopedic Institute," shares Rodolfo. "They gave me my life back."