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Local Lawman, Jerry Vaughn Limps No More

Jerry Vaughn
Jerry Vaughn

Jerry Vaughn, 74, remembers May 16, 1961 like it was yesterday. As a freshman football player at Appalachian State Teachers College (Appalachian State University), he went on a blind date with Mary Helen Norris to the Blue Ridge Parkway to roast hot dogs and admire the blooming lilacs. Two months later, the youngsters married.

After graduation, the Winston-Salem native served in law enforcement in Watauga County. He fondly remembers his unconventional swearing in ceremony, which was conducted on a butcher block in the back of the Mayor Pro Tem’s grocery store in downtown Boone. Over the course of his career, Vaughn served as a detective, captain, instructor and private investigator in the High Country.

Unfortunately, the wear-and-tear of the job gradually took its toll on Vaughn’s body. For years he ignored the pain and the sound of his left knee popping each time he bent over to lace his shoes. Eventually, he decided to seek help at Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center (AppOrtho). It was there that he met orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Bill DeVault. The two hit-it-off immediately after Vaughn learned that his doctor was also from Winston-Salem and that his father had been a high school football coach.

After examining Vaughn, Dr. DeVault determined that his patient had severe arthritis in his left knee. He then recommended steroid shots to temporarily reduce his pain and a ConforMIS total knee replacement to restore his functionality. Different than a traditional “off the shelf” prosthetic knee, ConforMIS uses a CT of the patient’s actual knee to design and manufacture a customized knee replacement for each patient. Vaughn readily agreed to the surgery which was scheduled for January 11, 2016 at Watauga Medical Center.

“I would have walked into that operating room if they would have let me,” said Vaughn with a smile. “A few weeks before the surgery, I participated in one of the hospitals pre-surgery joint replacement classes to get a better understanding of what to expect. As it turned out, my joint replacement class instructor was one of my nurses in surgery… I felt right at home.”

Vaughn’s surgery was completed successfully without complication. He was later cleared for discharge on January 14th, one day before his birthday, a request he made clear before agreeing to the surgery date.

Dr. DeVault, who also serves as the medical director for The Rehabilitation Centers in Boone and Linville N.C., recommend that Vaughn work with a physical therapist post-surgery to improve his functionality. Within a few sessions, he noticed a significant reduction in soreness as well as improved strength. After rehab, he plans to join the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center to continue his exercises.

“I never considered going anywhere else for my knee replacement,” said Vaughn. “I have spent the better part of my life in this area and I’m proud to be a patient at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System.”

As the Vaughn’s look forward to their 56th wedding anniversary, they are reminded and grateful for their love, faith and health.

To learn more about Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center call 828-386-2663 or visit https://apprhs.org/ortho.