Judith D. and Dana M., mother and daughter pair, experienced separate falls that led them to Mountainside Medical Center’s Emergency Department and orthopedic surgeon, Joseph Bellapianta, M.D., in 2020.
More than 15 years ago, Dana, the daughter, was hit by a drunk driver in a serious car accident. She had a metal rod inserted in her femur at that time and hadn’t had any issues with it until recently, when she fell and hit her right knee. Dana immediately knew something was not right and suspected it may have something to do with the previous injury from the car accident. Dana was seeing an orthopedic doctor at the time of her fall, but was considering a change.
A few months earlier, her mother, Judith, fell while playing with Dana’s two-year-old son and was brought to Mountainside Medical Center, where they discovered she had a shattered and dislocated her right shoulder and had fractured her left wrist. Judith was referred to Dr. Bellapianta.
“He was the kindest man, very patient, and explained everything,” Judith said. “He was very interested in listening to how I felt and wanted to know my thoughts. I appreciated how conservative Dr. Bellapianta was. He did not rush to do anything I was uncomfortable with. He looked for alternative routes before recommending surgery right away. The staff at Mountainside helped get my pain under control until the doctor was able to figure out the best course of action. Once we decided on surgery, he said he’d do his best to keep my shoulder intact with plates and screws, and it really seemed like he cared. He was prepared for a partial shoulder replacement, but fortunately, that was not necessary.” The surgery went well, and Judith was released from the hospital a few days later.
“The nurses and other staff were wonderful throughout my stay,” Judith said. “I wanted for nothing, and everyone was so fabulous. One of the attending physicians on staff was very attentive, making sure I had everything I needed. The whole experience at Mountainside was very positive and Dr. Bellapianta’s staff has been very helpful in all aspects of my follow up care.”
Meanwhile, Judith’s daughter was looking for a second opinion after her fall. During a checkup appointment for Judith, seeing the level of care her mother’s surgeon provided, Dana decided to ask Dr. Bellapianta to take a look at her injury.
“Dr. Bellapianta was very thorough,” Dana said. “My other doctor wanted to remove the rod that was already in my femur. Dr. Bellapianta decided to do a minimally invasive surgery that did not require removal of the rod or the rebreaking of my femur. ”
Dr. Bellapianta scheduled Dana for arthroscopy and synovectomy on her right knee.
“Everyone at Mountainside and Dr. Bellapianta’s office was nothing short of amazing,” Dana said. “When I had questions, I was able to send in pictures and get answers back quickly. It was a great experience overall.”
Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, both Judith and Dana felt comfortable with the safety protocols at Mountainside.
“Everyone was very careful with masking and even the way seating was arranged for social distancing. There are separate units for COVID patients and non-COVID patients. We felt very safe there,” Dana recalled.
Judith completed her physical therapy in December and is doing very well. Dana has a very positive outlook, as well and is currently in physical therapy.
To learn more about orthopedic surgeries at Mountainside Medical Center, visit mountainsidehosp.com/services/orthopedic-surgery or call 888-973-4674 to find a doctor near you.