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Ovidiu Poclitaru, Romania

Ovidiu Poclitaru

Ovidiu Poclitaru, aged 64, lives in the village of Gura Humorului (Moldavia), Romania. Ovidiu was formerly the foreman at the local timber factory, but had been enjoying his well-deserved retirement for several years. Although his football playing days were long over, Ovidiu had become an avid reader and continued to lead a fairly active and independent life.

One day in February 2003 while on the way to the library to borrow another book, Ovidiu slipped on a spot of ice hidden beneath a thin layer of snow. He fell on his right hip, got up on his feet again in an instant, wiped his clothes clean and went on. After walking 20 meters his right leg felt "funny" – it was slightly painful and felt like it was not responding properly, almost as though he were walking on a sponge. Never even thinking that anything serious could have happened after such a common fall, Ovidiu assumed that he may have simply injured his heel.

He grabbed hold of a nearby fence for support and was able to find someone to drive him to the nearest clinic. The doctor diagnosed a "crack" in his hip and recommended bed-rest for 45 days. But even after 30 days there was no improvement. He was not able to use his leg and was experiencing atrocious pain, especially during the night. Ovidiu decided to see a doctor in a bigger medical center located in Suceava, the closest city. The specialist there diagnosed a femoral neck (hip) fracture. Three months after his fall, Ovidiu arrived at the medical center in Targu Mures, where he underwent total hip arthroplasty. An ultrasound test revealed that he has advanced osteopenia. Unfortunately, no DEXA machine (which would give a more accurate diagnosis) is available in the region.

In retrospect, Ovidiu recognizes that there were several lifestyle factors that could have alerted him to his increased risk for osteoporosis. These include a lack of calcium-rich dairy products in his diet, a history of heavy smoking, colitis between the ages of 30 and 50, regular alcoholic consumption and a thin physical build. Ovidiu is now "proudly" wearing a hip prosthesis and is working hard towards rehabilitation. Like anyone who suffers the debilitation caused by hip fracture, Ovidiu is feeling depressed – when we requested a photo from his youth for this patient story, Ovidiu said "yes, it would be good indeed, just to see the difference to the physical wreck I have become..."

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