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Little Rock woman hurt on vacation flies back to UAMS for hip replacement

Joan Baldridge was on vacation in Belize when she broke her hip and flew back to Little Rock for treatment at UAMS. (Photo courtesy: UAMS)

A Little Rock woman was on vacation 2,000 miles away from home when she experienced a medical emergency.

Joan Baldridge's happy place is a resort island off the coast of Belize.

She and her husband spent a week there last November when she slipped on a concrete floor and had a hard fall the last day of her trip.

"Because I'd broken things before, I was pretty sure my hip was broken," Baldridge said.

The on-call doctor for the island was not answering and Baldridge went for several hours before she received any medical attention.

"The island is very small. The only way off the island is by small boat or helicopter," she said.

After a long, agonizing wait, she got on a small private jet back to the states.

"We got on the plane and about 32 or 33 hours after I fell, we rolled into the emergency room bay at UAMS, and I have never been as glad to be in any place in my whole life," Baldridge stated.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Paul Edwards gave her a total hip replacement because of the way the hip was injured. It was the best option for her to regain the most mobility.

Baldridge was up on her feet and being discharged from the hospital the next day.

"One of the key components to performing successful joint replacement is having a pathway that is able to accommodate patients in a safe manner and consistently give them the same result each and every time," Dr. Edwards said.

Baldridge recovered well and still has a few more sessions of physical therapy.

She's clear to travel again and hopes to soon be able to go back to her happy place in Belize.

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