When you’ve spent your life helping others see the good in everything around them, you tend to know a thing or two about where that goodness comes from.
West Norriton resident Richard (Dick) Sarley, a retired pastor, has no desire to slow down his active lifestyle. Family and community are important to Dick and his wife, Arline. They both come from large families and have children and grandchildren on the West Coast. But in 2007, when hip pain started slowing him down, Dick knew he’d have to do something about it.
He ended up needing both hips replaced within a few years of each other. But in 2017, Dick’s left hip was bothering him again. “I went back to my original surgeon,” he says, “and he didn’t see anything wrong. But, knowing that I used to preach in West Chester, he said he knew someone at Premier there who operated at Chester County Hospital.”
That referral put Sarley in the capable hands of Premier Orthopaedics surgeon Chet Simmons Jr., M.D.
“I knew of Premier but didn’t know about Dr. Simmons,” he says. “Coincidentally, my wife and I saw a video of him speaking to a group and were impressed with his approach and demeanor. We sensed he was a very caring individual.”
“That sense was realized when I met Dr. Simmons,” he continues. “When he walks in the room you immediately feel as if he cares about you. He asks you to sit down, then he sits down and makes eye contact with you. On every occasion I never felt rushed. I always felt I was his most important patient that day.”
Dr. Simmons rendered a diagnosis, which necessitated hip revision surgery, and continued his tradition of caring throughout the entire surgical and recovery process. While Dick had no issues with the surgeon who performed the original surgery, he was impressed by Premier’s post-surgical follow-up care process. “In previous hip surgeries, I only saw my doctor on the day of surgery,” he says. “After that it was always the physician’s assistant.”
But the post-surgery experience with Dr. Simmons was completely different. “He saw me the day of surgery, met with my wife and told us everything,” Dick says. “Then, at 6 a.m. the next day, there he was at the foot of my bed. The day after that I was scheduled to go home, and while he was not able to be there in person he called me. He had already talked to the charge nurse and knew that I was doing well. ‘See you on Monday,’ he said. He did, and in that follow-up environment I had the same experience of caring.”
Dick chose Premier’s West Chester site for his physical therapy, at Dr. Simmons’ recommendation. “I had no hesitation,” he says. “From the first visit, it was a pleasant experience. Everyone there – the people at the desk, the aides and therapists – are friendly, knowledgeable and caring.”
A bout of bursitis in 2019 brought him back to Dr. Simmons, who referred him to Premier spine specialist Jeffrey Citara, D.O. Dr. Citara determined that pelvis misalignment was causing the pain, and prescribed another round of PT. “They asked me where I wanted to go,” Dick says. “And I said, ‘West Chester!’ Those people made a wonderful first impression. They are engaging, gentle and caring. They ask questions, talk with you and push you, but are not forceful. If something hurts they make adjustments in order to accomplish the goal. They make things happen!”
Despite having to drive 21 miles to get there, Dick relished the time with his Premier West Chester physical therapy team. Today, he’s returned to his active lifestyle. And the preacher with the bright blue eyes and wide smile is feeling better than he has in years.
“Before, I couldn’t even water my plants without paying the price,” he says. “But now I can carry groceries in one hand and heavy items in the other without pain. I even walk differently now – my gait is back and I can bend without pain.”
As for Premier Orthopaedics, Dick says he is very pleased. “I’ve had great experiences,” he says, “and have recommended Premier to others. They have loved it too. I’m grateful.”