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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Portrait of a Grateful Patient

Alice Tiffin

Alice and Bill TiffinAlice Tiffin, 80, kept herself quite busy over the decades. Not much slowed down this energetic nurse, small business owner, mother of five and community volunteer.

As a Brownie, Girl-Scout and 4-H leader, Tiffin was a constant at trips, parades, county fairs and summer camps. She chaperoned at proms and graduations. With her husband of 62 years, Bill, she opened and ran a small ice cream parlor which provided work experience for their three younger daughters and other local high schoolers. She volunteered extensively in a variety of other venues – so much so she was awarded Santa Cruz’ “Woman of the Year” award for her community assistance after a major flood and she earned a write-up in the local newspaper and Lassen County’s coveted “Old Timer of the Year” award.

Then an injury threatened to bring the activity to a halt. A fall damaged a knee that had already been troubling her from a chicken attack earlier in her life.

A chicken attack? 

“I was feeding the chickens when a rat jumped out of the feed,” Tiffin recalls. “We had an enormous white rooster who tried to attack the rat. He mistakenly got me by the leg – dug his spurs in both sides of my knee, hung on and beat me with his wings before I could get away.”

Those spurs can be up to two inches long, and they had managed to damage Alice’s kneecap. Years later and in constant pain – she had trouble walking, and couldn’t climb steps – Alice’s doctor referred her to UC Davis Health System’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. She saw Dr. Kenneth Trauner, who eventually performed a knee replacement procedure. 

“He was absolutely wonderful, and it made such a difference in the activities in my life,” Tiffin says. “I asked if I had to have another one of these replacements in a few years, and he said, ‘Alice, it will probably out live you.’” 

Ten years after the surgery, Alice and Bill made a donation to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “The care I received in Orthopaedic Surgery was wonderful,” she says. “Everyone at the hospital is sympathetic – they seem to have real feelings for the people they are working with. The attention to the follow-up care was just as detailed and caring. I feel like if I had more money, that’s where it would go.”