Updated 06/06/2012 11:00 PM
CNY surgeons prepare for medical mission in Panama
A team of Central New York surgeons and medical support staff are working to give people mobility both at home and abroad. Last year was the beginning of Operation Walk Syracuse. A crew of about 35 people went to Nepal to perform knee and hip replacements for free. As our Katie Gibas reports, now that team is preparing for their mission to Panama.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Last year, they went to Nepal.
"Going to Nepal was like taking a spaceship and landing in another planet. It was a third world country. Lack of central services. Electricity was shaky," said Seth Greenky, the Operation Walk Syracuse Co-Executive Director.
Despite the challenges, Operation Walk Syracuse's surgical team performed a record number of hip and knee replacements for any first-time operation. Now they're preparing for their medical mission to Panama.
"The poverty is the same. That's sort of the universal language, so we understand that," said Brett Greenky, the Operation Walk Syracuse Co-Executive Director.
Kim Murray, Operation Walk Syracuse Clinical Director, added, "The two geographic areas are dramatically different, but when you're talking about the needs of the people, they're very, very similar. In both places, we saw people that were young, that were old who were very limited in their mobility, their ability to carry out their daily activities of daily living and to really get around and live a full, meaningful life."
This is their first solo mission. In their inaugural year, Operation Walk LA supported the team. Now the goal is to once again show the world what CNY surgeons are made of.
"We feel like the bigger dent we can make in the misery of the people there, the happier we'll be. Since we're there, we're going to try to make the most of the opportunity to do as much as we can," said Brett Greenky.
Seth Greenky added, "The Operation Walk Organization is 13 sites around the country. Most of them are big cities, Chicago, LA, Pittsburgh. We're definitely the Green Bay Packers of this whole organization. We're a little city, but we feel like we can be like the Green Bay Packers and perhaps we be the star of this organization."
In addition to the surgeries in Panama, once the team returns to the states, they'll be performing a number of surgeries here in Central New York for people who need the help.
"People who are working, are struggling, they are supplying for their families and they're above the level that triggers Medicaid, but they just don't have enough funds to pay for insurance, so those are people who just can't or they've recently lost their jobs and their insurance runs out. So those are the people we are looking for to give the opportunity of joints when they don't have the money to pay for it," said Seth Greenky.
As part of their medical mission, they will also be instructing Panamanian surgeons and medical staff on the best practices to ensure better surgical futures for patients in Latin America.
The team says they already have enough supplies that have been donated, but they're still trying to raise money for airfare and shipping.
For more information, check out www.operationwalksyracuse.org.