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Retired Ohio vet travels for surgery

Dr. Dan Schramm, 75, talks to reporters at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital about his decision to travel to Albany from Marietta, Ohio, to have his left hip replaced.

Dr. Dan Schramm, 75, talks to reporters at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital about his decision to travel to Albany from Marietta, Ohio, to have his left hip replaced.

ALBANY, Ga — Even though Dan Schramm had plenty of other places between Ohio and Albany to have his hip replaced, he choose to have it done in Southwest Georgia.

Schramm, a 75-year-old retired veterinarian from Marietta, Ohio, had his left hip replaced Wednesday morning at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

His first hip replacement — on his right side — was done four years ago by Troy Skidmore, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Albany who was practicing in Ohio at the time.

“We have developed a relationship over the years. We are personal friends,” Skidmore said of his relationship with Schramm. “We have similar hobbies, despite what our wives think of them. He took care of our pets in Ohio, and I would drop by into his house.

“It’s an honor for me to be able to do it (the surgery). It’s a credit to him, not to me.”

Until earlier this year, Schramm was able to get along with just the one good hip. Eventually, he said, it got to the point where he could not get into his tractor and could hear his hip click.

When the time came to get the other one replaced, in his mind, there was only one surgeon who could do the job.

“I have a lot of confidence in him,” Schramm said of Skidmore. “I didn’t have much choice but to do it here.”

Schramm said he and his wife drove two days to make the more than 700-mile trip. When he came into town, he said he was immediately impressed with the facilities at Phoebe.

“I can see why Skidmore left,” he said.

Schramm still practices veterinary medicine every once in a while, and has had to handle a lot on his job in the roughly half-a-century he’s been in the game.

“I’ve been banged around a lot,” he said. “Handling large animals probably did contribute (to the wear and tear on my hip).”

Skidmore performed the surgery on Wednesday with fellow orthopedic surgeon Bob Pilcher, M.D., who explained that the procedure’s ultimate goal was to restore function to the ball and socket of the hip by primarily using metal and plastic parts, which was an approach similar to what was used to replace his other hip.

“His hip looks like a young person’s with some wear and tear,” said Pilcher prior to the surgery. “ (In this case) we want something that will last 20-30 years.”

On average, there are 150 hip replacement surgeries conducted annually at Phoebe. On a national scale, there are 400,000 such procedures done over the course of a year, Pilcher said.