CBS New York

After a woman’s knee replacement (done by another doctor) became infected and she almost lost her leg, a woman came to see Dr. Karkare.

After the initial examination, Dr. Karkare scheduled and performed a total knee replacement surgery that not only saved her leg, but the story was then featured on the CBS evening news here in New York.

This is the video of the entire segment…


And this is the transcript:

Announcer: Her knee replacement almost led to an amputation. A nightmare infection that could have left this woman without a leg. Total knee replacements are done hundreds of thousands of times a year, but in the rare case where something goes wrong, it can be devastating.

Christine : CBS 2 Dr. Max Gomez tells us now of a woman who almost lost her leg after a knee surgery. Thankfully though, doctors saved it. He’s here with the story, Max.

Dr. Gomez : That’s right Christine. An infected knee or hip replacement is a disaster. The processors has to be removed leaving a pretty useless leg for weeks or months before another joint can be put in. If the infection or other complications get really bad, it takes heroic measures to save the leg.

Reporter: Doctors in hospitals go to great lengths to prevent infection and total joint replacements. Surgeons wear a special space suit, scrub themselves and your skin with germ killing solutions, but sometimes that’s not enough.

Hazel Atkinson was in a serious car accident that broke both her legs, she ended up with one total knee replacement that eventually loosened and got infected.

Hazel Atkinson: Several doctors in the hospital said that it was time to give up and-

Dr: Karkare: Amputate your leg.

Hazel Atkinson: Amputate my leg, yes. It still brings tears. Sorry.

Reporter: But Hazel found Dr. Nakul Karkare who was willing to try to save her leg. Normally, that means taking out the artificial joint and placing special antibiotic-impregnated spacers, but-

Dr: Karkare: There’s no commercially available spacer which can be put in a knee after removing a huge implant.

Reporter: Dr. Karkare fashioned a custom implant using large amounts of antibiotics cement, then replaced it with a huge knee implant normally used in bone cancer patients. Here’s what a normal knee replacement looks like, just caps on the Femur and Tibia, and here’s what that normal replacement looks like next to Hazel’s new knee.

Dr: Karkare: The amputation was a possibility because the nerves and the blood vessels are all entrapped in the scar tissue around the knee joint.

Reporter: Just a couple of years later, Hazel is not only walking normally. She went to China and walked the Great Wall all without a cane or walker.

Hazel Atkinson: I play with my grandson, I love it.

Dr. Gomez : Hazel still has to take antibiotics because even a dental procedure or a small skin infection can release bacteria that can take rooting colonize her new implant. But that’s not unlike regular joint replacements patients. She told me that’s a small price to pay for saving her leg.

By the way, the first sign of an infection is usually pain, sometimes you’ll have pain anyway and the doctor has to look and see whether that’s an infection that might be setting in.

Reporter: Imagine how she feels after you heard her say, they were going to remove my leg.

Dr. Gomez : They were going to take her leg off. This is years later and she still gets choked up just thinking about it.

Christine : How can you not? All right, Dr. Max thank you.

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