Each year in Leon, a group of volunteers from Twin Cities Orthopedics provides much-needed medical equipment and implants for long-term use, and is involved in the education and training of orthopedic providers at a university hospital in Leon. This hospital serves as one of only two orthopedic residency programs in the country.
Orthopedic hand surgeon David Gesensway, MD joined Kurt Anderson, MD for the April 2017 trip. Along with physical therapist Eva Martinez, DPT, who also served as an interpreter; hand therapists Courtney Mason, OT; John Muelken, OPAC; Gail Maenke, CST; James Tousignant and assistants Julia Gesensway and Daniel Kim.
“The trip was a moving collaboration of cultures, orthopedic practices, physicians, therapists and patients that required teamwork and problem solving in 90-degree heat,” Mason said. “The generosity and gratitude we received from everyone in Nicaragua was overwhelming.”
Since 1996, David Palmer, MD, and Russ McGill, PA-C, have made over a dozen visits as orthopedic medical volunteers to Arusha. The providers’ primary duties involved performing surgical and assistant surgical duties, bringing in medical supplies, organizing inventory, attending new-patient and follow-up clinics, and educating surgical residents. Over the years, they’ve helped improve the orthopedic quality in Arusha with multiple donations of supplies, including a C-arm, arthroscopic towers and internal fixation plates, screws and rods.
Highlights from the January 2017 trip included the 25th anniversary jubilee of the founding of Selian Lutheran Hospital and 10th anniversary and expansion grand opening of the Plaster House.
“The opportunity to serve and treat a marginalized population is a special gift available to us. We are humbled and extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve this part of the world,” Dr. Palmer said.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOLAR PROGRAM
The reach of TCO stretches beyond the borders of the Midwest and even the United States. Team members from TCO were able to learn about the impact and experience of the TCO Foundation during the International Scholar Welcome and Volunteerism Showcase.
TCO physicians who have participated as volunteers outside the US delivered presentations at the event, providing a glimpse of the work done on these trips around the world, and encouraged attendees to volunteer for future trips.
- David Palmer, MD, who shared the experiences from his medical mission trip to Tanzania
- Stephen Olmsted, MD, who visited Honduras for a medical mission trip
- Jay Johnson, MD, who traveled to Guatemala to provide care
- Randy Lewis, MD, who highlighted his work in Bhutan and the happiness of the country’s people
- David Gesensway, MD, who provided an overview of the Nicaragua medical mission trip
The night concluded with presentations from honored guests Donald Garcia, MD, and Juan Guadamuz, MD, orthopedic surgeons from Nicaragua. Drs. Guadamuz and Garcia also attended the 47th annual HCMC Orthopedic & Trauma Seminar in October in Minneapolis.