News / Health

Operation Walk Gives Needy Patients New Life

Operation Walk Gives Needy Patients New Lifei
X
January 23, 2013 6:48 PM
People suffering from severe bone and joint problems live with pain and disability every moment of their lives. For some, the only solution is a hip or knee replacement, an expensive procedure many people cannot afford. VOA's Elizabeth Lee reports that an American-based organization called Operation Walk is working to heal people from Tanzania, to Nepal to the United States, who would otherwise not be able to afford treatment.
Elizabeth Lee
— People suffering from severe bone and joint diseases live with pain every moment of their lives. For some, the only solution is a hip or knee replacement, an expensive procedure many around the world cannot afford.  An American-based organization called Operation Walk is working to heal people from Tanzania, to Nepal to the United States, who would otherwise not be able to afford treatment.

“You’re dealing with the pain constantly 24 hours a day you’re getting no peace, “ laments Steven McKellar. He is no stranger to pain.

McKellar suffered from osteoarthritis, a joint disease. The simple act of standing up was excruciating. He needed a double hip replacement but couldn’t afford it because he didn’t have health insurance.  

“You just want to give up. You turn into yourself. You close off to the outside world. It is very depressing,” he explains.

Operation Walk threw McKellar a lifeline.  He had double hip replacement surgery free of charge.  The pain he experienced for so long disappeared and so did his depression.

“He was standing tall. He was standing straight," says his wife, Vallie McKellar. "I saw him again, like I got my six-foot husband back again, and I could see the stress in his face had left.”

Lawrence Dorr, an orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles, performed the operation.  He founded Operation Walk in 1996. It also provides free surgical treatment for poor people in developing countries including Nepal and Tanzania where people with bone and joint diseases face a stigma.

“If you’re crippled, you are an outcast. If you’re a woman, you can’t get married, and if you’re a man you can’t get a job,” notes Dorr.

Operation Walk went to Tanzania for the first time in June.  Many people there have little hope for good medical care. 

“There is a lot of poverty. There is a lot of discrepency between private medicine," explains Operation Walk surgeon Ammer Malik. He's from Kenya but practices medicine in Spain. "Maybe 85 percent of the population cannot access that kind of medicine.”

Dr. Geoffrey Kibira of the Arusha Lutheran Medical Center says some patients in Tanzania were afraid of getting an artifical hip or knee.

“The problem, majority couldn’t understand that you can put artifical things in the hip or the knee and walk again," the doctor says. "After seeing some of the patients improving walking and they are pain-free -- now people are coming.”

Dr. Malik has been returning to Tanzania on his vacations to deal with any post operative complications.

“I tell you it is more rewarding for me than what it is for them,” he admits.

In Los Angeles, physical therapist Dianna Donofrio is working with Operation Walk to help Steve McKellar recover from his double hip replacement.

"It’s not so much a financial thing when I went into this business as it was a calling," she says, "just having to help people and get them walking again and it’s something that’s a passion for me. it’s not just a job or a career."

Dorr says he sees change in many of the volunteer doctors and nurses who help patients in developing countries.

“They realize they can do things they didn’t even know they can do," he says. "And they can help people even better than they ever thought they could. And it changes them; it changes them for the good."

Dorr adds that for these volunteers, it becomes a calling that gives meaning to their lives.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ibrahim Ajlan from: yemen
January 27, 2013 8:03 AM
Allah protect you guys
thank you very much

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid