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Two Smiley Faces & Two Happy Knees

When Pat Trunzo and his wife Nancy moved to Lewes from East Hampton, Long Island, in 2013, one of the first questions they had was, “Where is the nearest hospital emergency room?” Finding new doctors is one of the biggest challenges facing people moving to a new home from out of state.

Pat had been having pain in both of his knees for years and was very apprehensive about knee replacement surgery. He was also concerned about his age and whether having complete knee replacement would be feasible at that point. His building construction foreman on Long Island, who is 15 years younger, had knee replacement surgery and was in so much pain afterward that he had to retire.

Determined to find good doctors, Pat and Nancy turned to Beebe Healthcare for recommendations. They were referred to Dr. Thomas F. Kelly, an internist with Shore Community Medical, affiliated with Beebe. Pat said he was amazed when Dr. Kelly called the day after he was seen to inquire how he was doing. Both Pat and Nancy are very happy with the warm, skilled care they receive from Dr. Kelly.

When Pat finally decided he needed to find an orthopaedic surgeon for his knees, the name Dr. Choy was mentioned over and over again. A close friend who had her second knee replaced with Dr. Choy said the experience was “much, much better” than her first knee replacement in New York. Once while attending a car show, Pat was resting on a bench when a complete stranger approached him and asked if he was OK. Pat explained that his knees were hurting, to which the woman said, “Go see Dr. Choy.”

Before Pat’s first knee replacement surgery in June 2017, he was impressed to receive a visit from Beebe’s in-house therapists. They checked his home to ensure he could navigate safely when he returned home after surgery. “They looked at the entry step scatter rugs and particularly my bathroom so that I wouldn’t fall or have a problem,” he said.

Pat’s first knee surgery went very well. He said, “I had the surgery on a Thursday morning and went home on Saturday morning. I had no pain after the surgery, and a few hours after, they got me up. I could move my leg and stand on it. I only took one pain pill and never needed another one.”

When Pat returned home on Saturday, he was surprised that the Beebe in-house therapists were coming the next day. The therapists told him, “We are a seven-day-a-week team!”

When Pat’s therapist saw the smiley face on his knee, he said, “Oh, you had Dr. Choy!” Before every knee surgery, Dr. Choy marks the knee with a smiley face.

When Pat’s second knee surgery was scheduled six months later in December, he was not as apprehensive about the procedure as he was leading up to the first one. “Again, I went in on a Thursday morning but went home the next day this time,” Pat said. “They had me up and walking all around the hospital because I had no pain.”

Pat’s wife Nancy appreciated the electronic message center on the wall in the waiting room, which kept her apprised of her husband’s status before, during, and after his surgery. “I appreciated knowing what was going on instead of sitting there for hours not knowing what was happening. It was also nice to have the convenient phone charging stations so I could keep the family up to date on Pat’s progress,” she said.

Pat and Nancy believed it was extremely important to recognize Dr. Choy and his team by Celebrating Excellent Care and making a donation to the Beebe Medical Foundation. “They were all wonderful, attentive, and very competent. We had total confidence in the ‘smiley face doctor,’ Dr. Choy!” said Pat. “After all, two smiley faces equals two happy knees.”

Beebe is planning for the next generation of care with a services and facilities expansion which includes a Specialty Surgical Hospital on the Rehoboth Beach Campus on Route 24. Find out more about these exciting plans: and sign up to receive updates!

Pat and Nancy Trunzo made not one, but two Celebrate Excellent Care gifts, one for each of Pat’s new knees. As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of individuals, corporations, businesses, and private foundations. All gifts to Beebe Healthcare, large or small, are tax-deductible and are channeled through Beebe Medical Foundation. To make a gift or to learn more about Celebrate Excellent Care, go to, contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at 302-644-2900 or email [email protected].