Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 4: Sunday March 21st

It's hard to believe, but today was actually our last full day in the OR! We were able to perform another 16 joint replacements in 12 patients, and all procedures went well.

Today also saw the first few discharges of the trip, with the initial set of postoperative patients ready to leave the hospital. At right, the first patient discharged from the hospital poses with his nurses prior to going home.

On the floor, the postop patients continue to work on getting out of bed and walking. The process can sometimes be challenging at the outset, and the hard work performed by our dedicated physical therapists (see below for an example) cannot be overstated!

Over the course of just a few days, however, the patients begin to get the hang of it, and the process becomes a much more positive experience (see below).

As mentioned briefly in a prior post, the Operation Walk Boston team is seeking to do something on this mission which has not been done previously by any Op Walk team. In particular, the team is seeking to evaluate the outcomes of their procedures by conducting follow up exams on patients who received joint replacements last year. The project is being led by Dr Katz, a professor in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

In the research, Dr Katz has been assisted by medical student Nina Niu (pictured at right), who reports the following:

"Last Thursday, during our first-follow-up clinic, we had the pleasure of seeing patients who received total joint replacements last year through Operation Walk. Twenty-eight smiling men and women attended this clinic. They were thrilled with their knee and hip prostheses, some even dancing their way into the clinic room to demonstrate their newly gained mobility.

"One woman reported that prior to the operation, she was in so much pain that she could not even sleep; now, she is dancing the bachata five nights each week. Another can easily walk up the stairs to his sixth floor apartment, which he couldn't do previously. It’s exciting to hear these success stories of how patients have been able to return to their lives, now free of pain.

"All patients were examined by our team of physical therapists, who reported significant improvement in measures such as muscle strength, range of motion and walking speed. We also collected follow-up data on self-reported pain and functional status, which we look forward to analyzing in the coming weeks.

"It’s exciting to measure the impact of Operation Walk, which ranges from increased angles of knee flexion to re-mastering the intricate moves of the bachata!"

All in all things have been going quite well with the mission. Sleep is scarce but enthusiasm and positivity are not hard to find. We'll end today's blog entry with a few pictures of team members working hard, and enjoying themselves while doing so!

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