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Large Joints Feature

Courtesy of Operation Walk Carolinas

Operation Walk Carolinas: $10,000 From Novant Health

Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. • Tue, April 18th, 2017

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A medical team of healthcare providers from three of Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest healthcare organizations has received a $10,000 gift from Novant Health. Together, the Novant Health employee giving campaign, will help send Operation Walk Carolinas to Cuba in May to perform joint replacements.

As indicated in the March 28, 2017 news release, “The funds designated for Operation Walk through Giving. Serving. Together. were raised by Novant Health employees through a series of bake sales and individual donations, and supplemented by a gift from the Novant Health Foundation. Novant Health also ordered $10,000 in supplies as an additional gift for the organization’s mission, and has already shipped them to Cuba ahead of the May trip.”

Operation Walk Carolinas, founded in 2016 by OrthoCarolina Hip and Knee surgeons Bryan Springer, M.D., and Walter Beaver, M.D., will take its inaugural mission to Cuba with a team of nearly 40 people, including, surgeons, internists, physical therapists, and more. Funds for the trip are raised mostly by the medical providers on the team, who volunteer their time for the cause.

“Giving to OpWalk truly is an extension of our mission, taking that orthopedic care and extending it to provide expertise wherever we can help,” said Jason Bernd, vice president, Novant Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital. “Our hospital is excited to be able to partner with this outstanding mission-oriented organization to provide specialty orthopedic care to this underserved population.”

“It may be difficult to believe but doctors in Cuba hardly make a living wage, so there just isn’t the access to specialty surgeries that there is the United States,” said Dr. Bryan Springer, Operation Walk Carolinas founder and hip and knee surgeon with OrthoCarolina. “We’re grateful to have such a dedicated team from three of the best medical organizations in the region going with us, and the unmatched support from Novant Health. We could not make this inaugural mission happen without their generosity.”

Dr. Springer told OTW, “Without the generosity and support of Novant Health, the inaugural trip of Operation Walk Carolinas would not be possible. They have provided critical supplies to allow us to provide joint replacement to over 50 patients in Cuba who would otherwise have no access to this life changing operation. In addition, many skilled healthcare providers are donating their tremendous skill and valuable time to be a part of this mission. Their donations and support will touch the lives of the people of Cuba forever.”

“These funds will provide critical supplies to allow us to perform hip and knee replacement surgery. We use nothing from the hospital we visit. We bring an entire hospital with us. This includes implants, instruments, medications, anesthesia supplies. Right down to the bandages we put on the legs. In addition, the funds donated help provide food and housing for the entire team of volunteers.”

Asked about the in-services, Dr. Springer commented, “Not only we will be providing these services to patients, but we will also be teaching and sharing information with many healthcare professionals in Cuba. This includes doctors, nurses and physical therapists. We will give seminar and have direct surgical observations. We hope to not only improve the lives of patients, but be able to teach many of the techniques we use when performing these operations in U.S. to the healthcare professionals in Cuba.”

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