Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 1: March 22, 2012

Op Walk volunteers were welcomed with applause upon arrival to Hospital General De La Plaza de La Salud) by patients who had traveled from near and far. The patients' gratitude was both uplifting and humbling, and the palpable sentiment of hope in the air was inspiring.

The morning began with the preoperative clinic, where each patient was interviewed and examined. Over 40 local medical students have generously volunteered there time to assist with the mission, many of whom served as interpreters for the multidisciplinary team visit with the patients.

After each patient had been seen and examined, Grand Rounds was held, where each patient was presented and discussed at length with input from physical therapy, nursing, anesthesia and the surgical team. This year we are privileged to welcome a fantastic group of outstanding surgeons. Returning veterans include Dr. Thomas S. Thornhill (BWH Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery), Dr. David Mattingly (Chief of Joint Reconstruction, New England Baptist Hospital), Dr. David Dalury (Chief of Orthopedic Surgery and Adult Reconstructive Surgery at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, MD), Dr. Dennis Burke (Hip and Knee Replacement Orthopaedic Surgeon Mass General Hospital, Clinical Instructor in Orthopaedic Surgery Harvard Medical School), as well as welcoming newcomers Dr. Wolfgang Fitz (Brigham and Women's Hospital Orthopaedic Surgeon, Clinical instructor in Orthopaedic Surgery Harvard medical school) and Dr. Ran Schwarzkopf (Brigham and Women's Hospital Arthroplasty Fellow). Each case, ranging from straight forward to complex, was discussed by this panel of experts and the best course of treatment determined. Medical and recovery concerns were addressed and a comprehensive care plan was formulated to ensure the best care possible for each and every patient.

By the afternoon it was off to the OR for the first round of cases. Six patients, undergoing eight total joints among them, were the first of the 2012 Op Walk cases. Meanwhile, the remaining patients were admitted to the hospital for preparation for surgery for over the next week.

With the 2012 procedures underway in the OR, the Op Walk experience came full circle in the follow-up clinic led by Dr. Jeffrey Katz. Over 80 returning patients from previous Op Walk trips returned for follow-up. The sentiment of gratitude and hope that was so pervasive in the morning clinic carried over to the afternoon, rallied by the happy returning faces. Physicians and physical therapist evaluating patients were privileged to stories of recovery and progress from beaming and grateful patients. The information gathered today will be integrated into Dr. Katz's research regarding the outcomes from the missions over the past 5 years.

It was a successful first day thanks to the efforts of Dr. Luis Alcantaro and his dedicated medical students, as well as the Op Walk Mission members.

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