National Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench visited hip-replacement patients in the new Surgical Suites at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake yesterday, hoping to help ease the fear and mental anguish that often accompanies the hip-replacement procedure. The former catcher was apparently pretty tough on his body while playing back in the 70s — 400,000 squats and 17 broken bones during his career, to be exact, so in 2004 he had to undergo hip replacement surgery — now he shares his experience and hope for the future with others.

Bench, who says he now enjoys a healthy, active pain-free life, joined the Baseball Hall of Fame in ’89 and is widely accepted as one of the best catchers ever to play the game. (Have a look at his web site, which offers entertaining proof of activity filled days spent with George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres to name a couple.)

As part of recent upgrades and renovations, Doctors Hospital recently opened the aforementioned Surgical Suites, a hotel-style section of the hospital, where “orthopedics meets opulence”, according to Dr. Marc Goldman. He says it helps surgery patients maintain their dignity.

PHOTO: Dr. Marc Goldman, Orthpedic Surgeon; Thomas Trigg, hip replacement patient; Johnny Bench; Louis Hesse,hip replacement patient; Joe White, hip replacement patient.

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