By Kelsey Thompson, Patient Liaison
Whether you are from the Chicago area or not, you are probably familiar with our city’s famous St. Patrick’s Day traditions. Early Irish immigrants flocked to Chicago in the 1800s, such that by 1850 one-fifth of the city’s population was Irish. Needless to say, the well-populated Irish-American community has maintained a strong presence in Chicago through the years. Today, tourists come from across the country to partake in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and watch the river dyed green.
However, these festivities would not be possible if it were not for Dr. Berger’s handiwork. (Well, at least Dr. Berger’s staff would like to think so.) One of Dr. Berger’s early patients, Patrick Sullivan (have you heard a more Irish name?), had a hip replacement in 2002. Sullivan, a member of the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band, also leads the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Since his surgery, he has led the parade 14 years in a row—every year since receiving his new hip.
“That parade does not start until I stomp my foot,” Sullivan touted as he lifted up his knee, forming a sharp 90-degree angle, his foot hovering nine inches above the ground. Excitedly, he continued, “I could not do this—I could not lift up my foot—without my new hip. The parade would not start without my hip replacement!”
Sullivan has continued to parade around with his prosthetic hip, even beyond St. Patrick’s Day. He will be participating in an upcoming competition on May 26, 2016 at the House of Blues, called Dancing with the Brokers. À la “Dancing with the Stars,” each couple consists of one professional dancer paired with one real estate or construction professional. Despite his impressive dancing skills (as seen in the video below), Sullivan is not actually the dancing pro! The participants train for months to prepare for the main event, which benefits children at Inner City Impact (you can contribute too!). So for any naysayers who doubt the functionality of a hip or knee prosthesis after surgery, attend the Dancing with the Brokers competition and watch Pat Sullivan twirl, prance, and dance around like a professional—prosthetic hip and all.
If you cannot watch Sullivan’s performance in Dancing with the Brokers, but wish to witness Dr. Berger’s handiwork in action, attend next year’s spectacular St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Chicago. At the start of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, take a closer look at the Irishman leading the charge, sporting a bagpipe and matching garb, and hone in on that right hip as he lifts up his foot. There you will spy Dr. Berger’s work, still holding strong 14 years later, despite all the dancing and stomping Sullivan has put it through. While Dr. Berger’s minimally invasive, muscle-sparing replacements are anything but traditional, his innovations have helped maintain Chicago’s long-standing tradition.