Published on August 02, 2017

Orthopedic Surgery and Outpatient Services Help Iron Range Residents


Contact: Maureen Talarico
Essentia Health Marketing & Communications
(218) 786-2315

A small bucket is just not going to cut it for Mary Kay Dougherty.  The active 73-year old from Hibbing has a lot of things to cross off her list in the future.  First is a trip to Africa, a trip she had the opportunity to go on a few years ago, but decided against, because of a painful hip.

"I like to be active and stay fit, but I have arthritis and my hip joint was starting to wear away," says Dougherty.  "The pain had been going on for a couple of years and was really beginning to hamper my lifestyle."

Dougherty was visiting with a friend of hers and commented about her hip pain, and her friend suggested she see Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Joseph Signorelli, who had just replaced her friend' hip.

"So, I made an appointment and four weeks later had the surgery," Dougherty says.  "I was amazed, I was up and moving hours after the surgery."

That was in July of 2016, now a year later, when she returned for her one-year checkup, she didn't have to drive 75 miles to Duluth.  Starting this summer, Dr. Signorelli now schedules two days every week to see patients, perform surgery, and follow up with their care, right on the Iron Range at Essentia Health-Virginia.

"It is great to bring the care to the patients, rather than the patients to the care," says Dr. Signorelli.  "The people and the facilities are great and everyone has been so accommodating while we build the joint replacement program."

Dr. Signorelli says demand is strong and expected to grow for orthopedics services on the Range, bringing the same orthopedics program in Duluth, now to Virginia.  The newly expanded program is based on research that shows a high number of Iron Range patients had surgery in Duluth, despite a living more than an hour from the Twin Ports.  "We are starting with a focus on hip and knee arthritis care and replacement, but we'd love to expand the program with other surgeons as time goes on," he adds.

And the surgeon is quick to point out it' more than he that brings this level of care to the Range, it takes an entire, committed team, including nurses, therapists, primary care teams, and surgical care.  And he' glad that his patients, like Mary Kay Dougherty, can get this care, close to home.

"The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive; both from patients as well as everyone who works in Virginia and clearly takes pride in the local community," Dr. Signorelli adds.

Dougherty agrees, freshly back from a three-week trip to Spain and Portugal, she' looking forward to planning that trip to Africa, and being able to stay active on vacation and with her friends.

"I had a wonderful experience overall," she says.  "Everything was positive and the outcome was remarkable.  Dr. Signorelli is a wonderful physician , warm and caring, and I would highly recommend him.  In fact, I have!"

To learn more about Dr. Signorelli and the orthopedic services offered in Virginia, please call (218) 741-0150.

To coordinate interviews, photos, and/or video, contact the media relations team.

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