After the Fall - Boston Globe Health / Science section on hip surgery
Angeline Scardino struggled to stand, with help from nurse Jane Ashley, the day after her hip was repaired at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Angeline Scardino struggled to stand, with help from nurse Jane Ashley, the day after her hip was repaired at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (Globe Staff / Bill Greene)

Part One

Hip fractures a mortal test
for elders and for medicine

Each year, approximately 300,000 Americans over 64 break their hips -- three-quarters of them women. They are two to five times more likely to die within a year than seniors without a break. And with aging baby boomers, the number of fractures could double by 2040. (By Alice Dembner )

Part Two

Battling the voice
that says 'give up'

Rita Erichsen looked haggard at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after nights of pain, nausea, and sleeplessness. (By Alice Dembner)
Herman Erichsen despaired as his wife, Rita, fought for breath after hip fracture surgery. Herman Erichsen despaired as his wife, Rita, fought for breath after hip fracture surgery. (Globe Staff / Bill Greene)
Alone in her daughter's home for the first time since she broke her hip five weeks earlier, Angeline Scardino swept up a pill she had dropped, trying to keep it from her dachshund Symantha. Alone in her daughter's home for the first time since she broke her hip five weeks earlier, Angeline Scardino swept up a pill she had dropped, trying to keep it from her dachshund Symantha. (Globe Staff / Bill Greene)

Part Three

Two patients face new challenges at home

From her customary seat at the kitchen table, Angeline Scardino gazed out the window on a gorgeous October afternoon. She was home alone for the first time since she broke her hip two months earlier. (By Alice Dembner)