Hill Employee Back on the Job Following Spine Surgery at Davis Hospital
Dr. Bohus Svagr repairs former Marine Bill Walford’s crippling vertebrae damage
Apr. 20, 2012
Like a car with a few hundred thousand miles on it, Bill Walford’s 61-year-old body had seen its share of wear and tear. The administrator at Hill Air Force Base and former Marine stayed in shape teaching wall climbing at the base, climbing an average of 1,500 vertical feet per week. But a slip on winter ice was the last straw for his back, and it was time for a serious surgical overhaul.
On Feb. 3, Walford found himself being prepped for surgery at Davis Hospital and Medical Center to have several vertebrae in his spine fused together.
“Due to gradual degeneration of his vertebrae, Bill had serious stenosis or narrowing in his lower spine, which pinched the nerves that connect to his lower extremities,” said Bohus Svagr, M.D., orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Davis Hospital and Medical Center. “When I first saw him, he was in intense pain and already couldn’t walk, with his condition worsening. We scheduled surgery right away to relieve pressure on the nerves and prevent further damage.”
During the successful six-hour surgery, Dr. Svagr stabilized lumbar vertebrae three, four and five with rods and screws, and he used a bone graft to fuse the three vertebrae to the sacrum. Following surgery, Walford was concerned about adequate pain management because of his size – 6 feet 5 inches tall and 270 pounds. But hospital staff kept him comfortable, and the physical therapists got him moving quickly toward full recovery.
“Dr. Svagr was terrific, showing great concern for my personal comfort and going to great lengths to make sure I received the treatment I needed,” Walford said. “He and the nurses and other staff at Davis Hospital remind me of the Marine Corps with the support and teamwork they showed. They are a truly compassionate group and I’m proud to have them on my side.”
Dr. Svagr said, “As a physician, it’s important to combine professional passion for medicine with personal compassion for the patient. When someone is actively living life and then suddenly one day can barely walk, it is rewarding to be able to help them heal and return to a quality life with friends and family.”
Walford is making a complete recovery and is back to work at the base, looking forward to watching his odometer roll over another hundred thousand miles.