Operation Walk Carolinas Inaugural Mission to Cuba

May 12, 2017

A medical team made up of providers from three of Charlotte’s largest healthcare organizations went to Cuba on Wednesday, May 10, to perform critical hip and knee replacements for Cubans over several days. Operation Walk Carolinas expects to perform upwards of 50 hip and knee replacements over four days with 40 medical providers – including surgeons, internists, physical therapists, nurses and scrub techs – journeying from OrthoCarolina, Carolinas HealthCare System and Novant Health. While in Cuba, the medical providers of Operation Walk Carolinas will also host professional education services for physicians from across the country about advanced orthopedic treatments and care.

“OpWalk Carolinas” has also announced a $32,956 in-kind donation of medical supplies from Carolinas HealthCare System for the Cuba trip, including suction tips, tubing, disposable retractors, gloves, cement mixing devices, drapes, gowns, caps, syringes, disposable surgical instruments and more.

“We’re proud to be part of this project and our staff is excited to share their skills with another country, enabling people to experience pain-free ambulation,” said Dr. Eugene Christian, chief

medical officer, Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy. “Charitable work is an important part of what our healthcare system does, and we always encourage our teammates to take part in community service locally and beyond.”

Because few surgeons can perform joint arthroplasties in Cuba, people there have relatively little or no access to hip and knee replacement surgeries – which in many cases can leave them unable to walk or facing a lifetime of debilitating pain.

“Our truly talented team is now equipped with the supplies we need to significantly improve the lives of people in an area of the world who need this type of care,” said Dr. Bryan Springer, Operation Walk Carolinas founder and hip and knee surgeon with OrthoCarolina. “Carolinas HealthCare System has gone above and beyond the call of duty and their generosity will empower us to do the work that is so critically needed.”

OpWalk Carolinas funds are raised mostly by the medical providers on the team, who volunteer their time for the cause. The team will leave for their inaugural mission to Cuba on Wednesday, May 10, flown on donated charter flights provided by Hendrick Aviation. For more information, visit opwalkcarolinas.org.

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