Panama 2012 and 2013 Mission Trips
An Operation Walk team traveled to Panama City, Panama in 2012 and returned in 2013 to build upon the work started in 2012. Operation Walk's mission is to give life changing surgeries to those who do not have the resources to lead productive lives without it. During the second trip to Panama the team saw many past patients, and was able to give them their second joint replacement, granting them further independence, motility, and a pain free life. Team members included Doctors, Anesthesiologists, Nurses, Physical Therapists, Surgical Techs, and other professionals.
PANAMA in 2012 and 2013
Location: Central America (Costa Rica to the North and Columbia to the South)
Capital: Panama City
Total Population: 3,941,375
Average Life Expectancy: 76.8
Independence: November 3, 1903
GDP per capita: $15,900
The average person makes $2.00 per day.
Prior to the trips all the equipment needed was bought, donated, or paid for with the donations collected through fundraising efforts. The eight tons of cargo was sent over two months in advance, and was waiting for the volunteers to unpack when they arrived. Operation walk Syracuse worked at the largest hospital in Panama, Hospital Santo Tomas, which was founded in 1702. The hospital had a special wing for Operation Walk to work in.
First, the team screens patients to determine who is most in need for the life changing surgery. Many patients have been living with pain for more than 10 years. The pain has claimed the patients freedom, and in many cases the ability to support themselves financially.
This surgeries provided will give these patients the opportunity to live a pain free life, and to be able to provide for their families. In 2013, 69 patients were selected to receive a joint replacement.
The surgeries were performed over four days, with most days starting at 7 am and sometimes finishing by 7 pm. Our doctors worked alongside a local team to a provide hands-on educational experience so once the doctors return to the US, the healing process will be able to be continued. In 2013, 74 joint replacement surgeries were performed.
After surgery,the patients typically begin physical therapy the same day as their surgery. They are generally accustomed to so much pain prior to their surgeries that they are able to handle the post-op pain and the challenges of physical therapy with smiles on their faces, and a great motivation to work towards achieving a pain free life.
Everyone who goes on the trip is a volunteer, paying their own way, using their own time in order to help those who would not be able to receive this care in their country.