ALBANY — Forty-seven Capital Region healthcare professionals, all members of Operation Walk Albany, recently provided free, life-altering orthopedic surgeries to more than 50 Cuban nationals suffering from debilitating bone and joint conditions.
The team was led by Dr. Jared Roberts from The Bone & Joint Center in Albany. Dr. Roberts was accompanied by fellow Bone & Joint surgeons Dr. Alexander Harbin and Dr. Marc Fuchs, as well as Dr. Jonathon Gainor and Dr. William O’Connor from Ortho NY. Thirty medical/surgical staff from Albany Med, The Bone & Joint Center and Saratoga Hospital were also part of the medical mission, as were members of Choice Physical Therapy and Thomas Nicolla Physical Therapy.
“Most of the people we saw were crippled and in pain for years,” said Dr. Roberts. “To give them back some quality of life was a hugely rewarding experience for all of us.”
In just four days, the team performed 32 knee and 24 hip replacements. They also demonstrated and taught local orthopedic surgeons how to conduct total hip and knee replacement techniques. In addition, members taught Cuban anesthesiologists nerve blocks and spinal epidural techniques, while Cuban nurses learned pre-op, pacu, and floor techniques, including sterilizations, dressings, medications. Further, instruction in gait training, transfers to/from beds and toilets, exercises, and post-operative joint precaution was given to Cuban physical therapists.
Founded in 1996 by Dr. Lawrence Dorr, a world-renowned leader in joint replacement surgery, Operation Walk is a 501c3 volunteer organization that provides free surgery to patients who have no access to care for arthritis or other bone and joint conditions. Since its founding, the organization has grown to 18 teams across the United States, Canada, and Ireland, and has served more than 10,000 patients worldwide.