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After having his left knee replaced by Dr. Connolly in 2013, Donald Willits traveled all the way from Canada to Jersey Shore, Pa., to have the same orthopaedic surgeon replace his right knee.

Donald Willits is an active outdoorsman and hobbyist, born and raised in the Jersey Shore area. He worked on concrete surfaces most of his career at his local family business, Willits Truck Body. His strenuous job contributed heavily to the knee issues Donald started experiencing in his 50s.

In June 2013, orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Thomas Connolly performed total knee replacement surgery on Donald’s left knee at Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital. Shortly after his surgery, Donald retired, sold his business and relocated to Nova Scotia, Canada, with his wife, where the couple still resides today.

“My wife is an only child and with her parents were in their mid-80s. We moved so she could look after them,” says Donald. 

When Donald had his left knee replaced, Dr. Connolly told him his right knee had started showing wear as a result of taking the weight off his left one. As years passed, Donald’s right knee kept getting worse and it eventually started to affect his left hip.

“It was hard to walk any amount of distance without pain. It got to the point where I couldn't stand for more than a couple of hours without sitting to relieve the pain,” says Donald.

Returning to Geisinger for second knee replacement

In 2018, Donald made an appointment with Dr. Connolly to see what was causing his pain. He learned that even after having his left knee replaced, he was still shifting his weight to the right side of his body.

The following year, Donald underwent a total knee replacement on his right knee, and he decided to travel back to Jersey Shore to stick with Dr. Connolly. 

He even stayed local in Jersey Shore for all his physical therapy and follow-up appointments, completing his physical therapy in less than three weeks. 

“Donald’s post-surgical rehabilitation and his commitment to his goals after each surgery are a big reason why his total knee surgeries were successful,” says Dr. Connolly.

Coincidentally, when Donald returned to Pa. to have his right knee replacement, he realized the date was exactly five years from when he had his left knee replaced.

“I came back to Dr. Connolly because the work he did on my left knee was outstanding. He tells you exactly what is going on and what you need to do to get better,” says Donald. “He always speaks the truth and is sure of himself. He is the kind of doctor I want working on my body. Why shouldn't I come back for the right knee replacement?”

Today, Donald enjoys fishing in beautiful lakes and the nearby ocean in Nova Scotia, flying his radio-controlled airplane, building hobbies and spending time with his wife and their coonhound, Max.

Next steps:

Find an orthopaedic specialist
Learn more about joint pain

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