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The Ron Kelley Story

  • Date Submitted: Jun 29, 2023
This past fall, 76-year-old Ron Kelley went fishing in Canada, driving nearly three hours to reach his favorite fishing hole. He also journeyed to Mexico and Arizona on hunting expeditions, for which he had to push his 85-pound yellow Labrador Retriever, Princess, in a kennel “through three airports,” he says, “and I was able to do it.”

Contrast that experience with a year earlier in October 2021, when Ron took a road trip to Arizona for pheasant season, only to find that his right hip had deteriorated to the point he couldn’t even get out of the car.

The difference in that year? Ron had a hip replacement at the Revive Joint Replacement Program at Casa Colina Hospital. For two years, he tried cortisone injections, which helped relieve the pain, but their effectiveness was diminishing. “I should have come earlier,” he says of having surgery. “The pain finally drove me there.”

First, he did his research. Four times, Ron asked friends and physicians which surgeon they recommended and four times one name came up—Luis Corrales, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and Medical Director of the Revive Joint Replacement Program. “I looked no further,” says Ron, who retired two decades ago as a detective with the Pomona Police Department after a 35-year law enforcement career.

Ron may also have been reassured by the program’s use of state-of-the-art, 3-D computer navigation, robotic-arm assisted surgical technology, and minimally invasive, rapid-recovery surgical techniques—all of which typically result in less pain, shorter hospital stays, and faster healing for patients.

The Revive Program’s spirit of innovation—coupled with a culture that stresses education, early mobility, and family involvement—earned Casa Colina Hospital the prestigious Gold Seal of Approval for Advanced Total Hip and Knee Replacement Certification in 2021 from the Joint Commission and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

In addition, Casa Colina was recognized as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Joint Replacement (2022) and awarded the Joint Replacement Excellence Award™ (2020-2023) by Healthgrades®, a national resource on hospitals and physicians. Casa Colina also has been named a Healthgrades Five-Star Recipient for Total Hip Replacement (2021-2023) and Total Knee Replacement (2019-2023).

As Ron sat before him, Dr. Corrales saw someone “who could benefit from all facets of our program and the way our entire team comes together to help our patients optimize their healing,” he says.

Ron’s hip showed advanced arthritis and bone loss. The damage had progressed to the point that he now had a discrepancy in the length of his legs.

Suzi Johnson, PT, MPT, OCS, Orthopedic Care Coordinator at the Revive Program, stepped in as Ron’s patient advocate and liaison. She also instructs the Joint Replacement Education Class, which teaches patients how to prepare for surgery and what equipment and at-home planning they will need post-surgery. “Everything had been thought out, and everything she recommended helped me later,” Ron says.

Also instrumental in seeing him through the process were two orthopedic nurse specialists: Cynthia Lopez, NP-C, MS and Estrella “Star” Montes, RN, ONC.

The program’s focus on education isn’t accidental. “I’ve come to realize that the most important factor in getting a great outcome is the patient’s potential for healing,” says Dr. Corrales.

That capacity is driven largely by a patient’s willingness to commit to their health in terms of nutrition, exercise, and physical therapy. “We also spend a lot of time trying to reduce patients’ stress and anxiety about surgery to improve their mental well-being,” says Dr. Corrales.

The full-circle care is reflective of Casa Colina’s philosophy as a whole. “This hospital is unique in many ways,” says Dr. Corrales, who was named by Super Doctors as a Rising Star in 2022 and a Super Doctor in 2023. “One of the greatest ways is that the emphasis is always ‘patient first’ and on trying to achieve the best outcome for the patient. Everything else is secondary.”

As Ron entered the operating room, the sight of Dr. Corrales and his surgical team waiting for him calmed him. He especially appreciated that “Dr. Corrales took the time to explain step by step what I needed to do to have a successful surgery.”

Ron’s hip had been in such bad shape that he felt immediate improvement after the surgery. He had transportation issues, so the program arranged for him to receive his physical therapy at home. Within a month, he was able to resume training his dogs (the lab and a pointer) and plan more trips. “It’s been a tremendous improvement,” he reports.

To Dr. Corrales, this is most rewarding aspect of his role—“Seeing someone come in with such a big burden, in terms of pain and dysfunction, and offering them hope and a better quality of life. They go from being debilitated to a few months later, beaming because they feel so much better.”

Each member of the team—including physiatrists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, therapists, and case managers—helps make this transformation happen, he adds. “For us, it isn’t just the result that is so satisfying, it’s the journey.”

“That’s the plus,” says Ron. “Whenever I refer anyone to Casa Colina and Dr. Corrales, I tell them there’s a whole team that looks out for you. You are not alone.”