Knee Replacement Breathes New Life Into Respiratory Therapist


Patient: Liz Mirzoeff

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Liz Mirzoeff realizes the fortuitous timing of her knee replacement surgery. The 40-year veteran respiratory therapist had no idea a pandemic was around the corner in December 2019, when she had the procedure. Now, she’s back on the floors and performing activities that just one year ago caused significant pain.

“Just walking was painful,” Mirzoeff says. “I had to think about how I was going to step up onto or off a curb.” Even at work, where she covers the ER, neonatal intensive care unit, the ICU – basically the whole hospital, the pain was so intense that Mirzoeff needed to take frequent breaks. That’s tough to do in any environment, but especially in one as demanding as a hospital – where healthcare providers are on their feet all day.

Mirzoeff sought out Gene Elia, M.D., Premier Orthopaedics surgeon in Havertown. Dr. Elia’s office on Darby Road was a quick drive from Drexel Hill, where Mirzoeff works, but it was his skill and bedside manner that made her choice easy.

“Dr. Elia was the right doctor for me because, having worked at [Delaware County Memorial Hospital] for so long, I had the privilege of taking care of his patients post-op,” Mirzoeff says. “I saw how he was with his patients. His follow-up is good and his bedside manner is wonderful. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

So-long, pain
Dr. Elia says that “the number-one goal, for all of my patients, is to relieve pain. The secondary goal is to make them more active and able to do more of the activities they like. For Liz, we took X-rays to see what was wrong and saw that she had pretty severe arthritis in her left knee. Her knee cartilage had completely worn out.”

Surgery was necessary, and despite that bit of bad news Mirzoeff took comfort in knowing exactly what to expect. “Dr. Elia said to me, ‘We get you up the day of surgery for physical therapy, and you’ll be out of the hospital the next day or day after, tops.’ And they did! Everyone was wonderful. They were very motivating, caring and understanding.”

Just three short months later, Mirzoeff would come to appreciate her new knee even more. COVID-19 made her long days even longer and more chaotic, but she’s grateful the pain has subsided. Now, her sparkling smile is a constant companion to her extraordinary patient care.

These days, while Mirzoeff is still waiting to walk the entire Chester Creek Trail, she appreciates the small things that many of us can take for granted – driving a car, strolling on a beach, and, yes, stepping up on a curb without pain.

“She finally can start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and get back to doing her more aggressive activities,” Dr. Elia says. “That’s why we do what we do – everything from supportive counseling all the way to reconstructive surgery. No matter what service our patients have, we are going to explain every step and every detail.”

“Dr. Elia and everyone at the hospital were just great,” Mirzoeff says. “The care I received was excellent.”

Gene Elia, M.D. and his colleagues, Jack Kazanjian, D.O. and Nicholas DiNubile, M.D. offer the latest procedures and therapies to treat conditions of the knee, hip and shoulder. Most insurances are accepted and appointments are available within 24 hours in their office at 510 Darby Road in Havertown. Call 610-449-6499 or make an appointment online.