When Ron Bachman decided it was finally time to undergo a total knee replacement, he had no idea that Dr. Denis Nam of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush would ultimately save his whole leg after an unsuccessful procedure by a local surgeon.
“By the time I met Ron, he was a very sick man,” explains Dr. Nam, a hip and knee replacement specialist.
One afternoon, Bachman, 64 of Sandwich, IL, felt sick. He thought he had the flu.
His health situation reached a crescendo when his speech became impaired and he collapsed at home. His wife Kim called an ambulance. At the local hospital emergency department, Bachman was told he was experiencing the effects of a raging infection in his knee which had been replaced. The infection had spread to his leg and other parts of his body. He was warned that he was in danger of losing his leg.
Once out of the hospital, Bachman returned to the local orthopedic physician who had performed his knee replacement. After exploration surgery, the doctor was shocked to see the extent of the infection, the worst he’d seen in his entire career. He cleaned out Bachman’s knee, but didn’t feel confident removing the prior implants or performing another surgery. He admitted Bachman to a nursing home to control the infection and referred him to Dr. Nam, a nationally renowned joint replacement surgeon with an expertise in difficult cases.
As soon as possible, Ron and Kim Bachman met with Dr. Nam. But, before Dr. Nam could remove and replace his knee implant, Bachman developed a deep vein thrombosis and experienced kidney malfunction. After a stay in the hospital to recover from these conditions, he was transferred to Rush University Medical Center where he was under the watchful eye of Dr. Nam. During this time, Dr. Nam became concerned that Bachman may no longer be a candidate for a knee revision, just a knee fusion or amputation.
Bachman’s health continued to improve, his vitals began to return to more normal levels, and he was healthy enough for Dr. Nam to remove the infected artificial joint and insert an antibiotic-filled spacer. After completing a course of IV antibiotics and re-checking for infection, Dr. Nam cleared him for a second surgery. However, he couldn’t tell Bachman the specific outcome and explained the options. Bachman hoped for the best, prepared for the worst and put his trust in Dr. Nam.
“At this point, I just wanted him to emerge alive,” recalls Kim Bachman.
He did emerge from surgery– and with a new knee implant.
“We just couldn’t believe he was able to save Ron’s knee,” Kim Bachman said. “We were thrilled.”
Months later, Mr. Bachman underwent a knee replacement on the opposite side, itself being complex due to the severity of his bone loss and deformity. Today, Bachman is back to work as a truck driver, walking his dogs and going to car shows, pain-free.
“I think back to how overwhelmed we were before we met Dr. Nam and we have come so far,” Kim Bachman says. “Everyone was so talented and supportive – especially Dr. Nam and his nurse Reggie Barden.”