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In the midst of a pandemic, when seeing a doctor in person is your only hope

30 July 2020

Stay-at-home orders have kept most of the nation inside since March, and the domino effect has forced many businesses to temporarily or permanently close?healthcare providers included. Despite the challenges, all Premier Orthopaedics physicians and therapy sites have remained open to see patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, both in person and virtually.

It's a decision that Harold Brown of Norristown is especially grateful for. “Thank God [Premier Orthopaedics] was open,” says Brown. “The pain had gotten really bad.”

Active throughout his entire adult life, Brown, 60, has experienced nearly all the problems that come with participating in organized sports. His body has taken a beating from rowing for crew and playing football and basketball.

“All that activity hurts the joints and I knew it would catch up to me,” Brown says.

When it did, in 2013, he sought out medical care for a meniscus tear in his right knee. Several doctors all said the same thing: Lose 30 pounds. He then crossed paths with Dennis McHugh, D.O., a Premier orthopaedic surgeon in East Norriton.

“He said, 'I'll take care of you,’” Brown recalls. “I trusted him. He seemed like a good guy who's straightforward and doesn't pull any punches.”

Dr. McHugh determined that surgery was Brown's best option for a full recovery and return to sports activity. After the procedure, Brown was able to lose the weight and perform high-intense activities.

Through the years, Brown has maintained a close relationship with Dr. McHugh, paying visits when he has minor troubles with his knees. An intense bout of pain during the pandemic concerned him enough to call his doctor. And in this particular case, an in-person visit was the only option.

“I tried to hold off, but the pain got so bad,” Brown says. “I called, and they got me right in twice. First my left knee, then one week later for my right knee. Dr. McHugh gave me injections, and now my knees feel 100 percent better."

Any concern that Brown might have had about visiting an office during the coronavirus outbreak quickly disappeared when he arrived at the Premier facility.

 

 

“I was so happy the office has been open during the coronavirus and relieved by the stringent measures they are taking to keep themselves and their patients safe,” says Brown. “They're exercising all precautions, such as social distancing and wearing masks. I felt safe.”

As for the future, Dr. McHugh has prepped Brown for eventual knee replacement surgery. “The cartilage in both of Hal's knees has worn away,” he says. “We've been able to keep him comfortable for quite a few years with the injections, but surgery really is going to be curative treatment. We're working together to design a game plan that works to his best advantage.”

In the meantime, Brown is complacent knowing that he felt well enough to hit the links on May 1 when Gov. Tom Wolf reopened Pennsylvania's golf courses. His goal is to surpass his physician's score.

“He has a better game than me by about six strokes,” Brown says with a laugh.

“I tell everyone to go see Dr. McHugh,” Brown concludes. “He's an excellent doctor. I totally trust him and would recommend him to anybody."

With over 30 locations in the Greater Philadelphia region, Premier Orthopaedics provides a full spectrum of orthopaedic services – including bone, muscle and joint care; physical therapy, MRI and urgent care. Appointments are available within 24 hours, please call 1-855-ORTHO-24 or visit www.premierortho.com.