Click the video player below to find out more about Operation Walk
Operation Walk is a miracle...surely for those who never thought they'd walk again and now can, certainly for the foreign physicians and nurses whose newfound skills can help others, but also for our staff and volunteers, who are genuinely and deeply reminded that life's greatest joy is in giving. Doctor Dorr and his colleagues have a remarkable history of charitable work that is as far-reaching as Russia, Cuba and the Philippines and as close to home as Los Angeles. Each year Institute physicians, nurse and volunteers travel to medically impoverished locales to perform total joint replacement surgeries. As part of this work they also teach and train local physicians and nurses...leaving a legacy of care throughout the world.
If you would like to help us continue our legacy of giving you are welcome to make a contribution. Simply complete the attached form and fax it to the number indicated or call us at 323 442-7926.
Operation Walk China
A combined Operation Walk team from Los Angeles and
Chicago traveled to Chengdu China, August 10-20,
2005. Operation Walk visited the West China Hospital
which is a 2,000 bed facility similar to our country’s
county hospitals. The hospital care is for the general
population of the Chengdu providence and sees
approximately 4,000 outpatients per day. The hospital
was like a city, bustling and busy, yet well organized
to manage this large population of patients.
Since Operation Walk’s inception in 1995, Dr. Dorr’s
goal has been to keep the program
improving to help as many patients as possible in
developing countries. One way to do this is to involve
other orthopedic surgeons from other areas of the
United States who have the support of their local
suppliers and the generous donations from their own
patient population. Dr. David Stulberg is one such
surgeon who has agreed to form a team from Chicago
which allows us to increase our outreach to other
countries each year. Dr. Victoria Brander, who works
with Dr. Stulberg, helped Jeri Ward to organize the
team from Northwestern University.
The team screened over 70 patients. Fifty patients
were selected for surgery, some needing both
(bilateral) hip or knee replacements. This is always
the most difficult part of Operation Walk deciding
which patients will get operated and which will not.
The determination for surgery is based on the
patient’s medical condition, orthopedic need, and the
availability of the implants needed to perform surgery
for that patient. We were able to operate 58 joints
in China. Operation Walk has operated over 1300
patients world wide.
Chengdu in Western China has only been open to Western
travelers for the past 20 years.
Jeri Ward, Mary Ellen Sieben, and Dr. Victoria Brander
traveled there in April to study the hospital
facilities and determined if it was appropriate for
Operation Walk. Operation Walk looks for a facility
that can dedicate 3-4 operating rooms for 4 days. The
facility must have one or two properly operating
sterilizers. A test load is run through the
sterilizer to look at temperature, load time, and
reliability. We also must determine if there are
enough postop beds, nurses, physical therapists, and
other support staff to support the high volume of
patients that will be operated over the 4 day period.
On the “pre-trip” we look at the x-rays to determine
the general size of the patients and whether there are
an abundance of hips or knees or if there are any
patients that need revision surgery. This allows us
to come back to the United States and ask for the
proper implants to make the trip successful. In China,
a large number of patients suffered from avascular
necrosis of the femoral head. Some patients also
suffered from ankylosing spondylitis (which causes a
fusion of the bones in the trunk of the body including
the hips and knees). West China Hospital has over
400 patients waiting for joint replacement surgery.
The nurses and doctors were very helpful and eager to
try to learn English. Several nurses and medical
students who spoke English were assigned to help as
Communication did not seem to be a problem as patients
families, doctors and nurses were eager to learn our
methods of patient care.
On the last day, patients held a “tea-party” for us.
They made presentations of gifts and sang songs to us.
Since singing for your guests seemed to be the
proper etiquette during our visit, Jeri decided to
sing God Bless America for the Chinese, much to their
(and our teams) amazement! Operation Walk China was
a memorable experience. The Chicago team will return
to Chengdu in 2006-2007 to continue our relief effort
Operation Walk Panama
Operation Walk visited Panama City, Panama November
5-12, 2005. The Los Angeles team operated 63 joints
in 3-1/2 days of surgery. This volume was achieved
only through the grace of an outstanding team. Dr.
Lawrence Dorr and Dr. William Long were assisted by
surgeons from Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada,
and Canada. We were able to use 4 operating rooms
each day at the Santo Tomas Hospital. By having the
extra operating room we were able to perform more
cases on a very needy population.
The expanded number of patients means that more
postoperative care and teaching are required. Kudos
to Amerine Bailey, R.N., Terri Pitzer, R.N., and Julie
Anderson, R.N., as well as Jennifer Akuno, PT, Sam
Ward, PT, PhD, and Victor Medina, OT for their
assistance in handling the large group of
Santa Tomas Hospital is a 420 bed facility that serves
the poor and uninsured population of Panama. We were
guided to this hospital through Alfredo Maduro who is
a Panamanian citizen and our “angel”. Mr. Maduro is a
local business man who realizes that the health care
system in Panama cannot provide for patients needing
joint replacement surgery due to the cost and
unavailability of the implants. Mr. Maduro had heard
about Operation Walk through a friend of his and asked
us to visit Panama. We had full support from the
Panamanian first lady, Mrs. Vivian de Torrijos. On
our preliminary visit we met with her to discuss what
Operation Walk could provide. She was very
enthusiastic about our help and made an appearance to
visit the patients, both before and after the
surgeries were performed.
Some of the patients that were treated in Panama had
very crippling arthritis. As you can see from some of
the photos, one gentleman had very severe deformity of
his knee which was corrected with the surgery. He and
his family were most grateful for his “new legs” and
his ability to walk and climb stairs and get around
Once the surgeries were complete, we took a tour of
the Panama Canal that was specially arranged by Mr.
Maduro. The canal has an amazing history and it was
awesome to see two huge tanker ships go through the
Miraflores locks. It was gratifying to help so many
people in such a beautiful country.