NWOS & Operation Walk
In November 2019, Dr. Kirk Reichard and Dr. Jonathan Keeve joined the Operation Walk — Albany medical mission to Havana, Cuba. During their one week stay, our team provided much-needed joint replacements to over forty individuals with degenerative orthopedic diseases. Some patients had multiple joint replacements during one surgical procedure.
Operation Walk Background
Operation Walk is a private, non-profit, volunteer medical services organization that provides free orthopedic surgeries for patients in developing countries. Operation Walk also educates in-country orthopedic surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals on the most advanced treatments and surgical techniques. The exchange of knowledge is done in conjunction with the surgeries to create a lasting contribution in developing countries.
Operation Walk was started in 1996 by Lawrence D. Dorr, M.D. in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Dorr is one of the leading joint replacement surgeons in the United States. On a teaching trip to Russia, Dr. Dorr had the idea that one of the best ways to teach physicians was actually to demonstrate the surgery. Dr. Dorr put together a team of surgeons, internal medicine doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, and physical therapists and planned his first Operation Walk trip to Havana, Cuba. A former patient, Mr. Buddy Litten, made the connection and the program took its first step. The team spent eight months getting all of the implants, medications, surgical supplies, and postoperative supplies ready to be transported to Havana. The first trip was a success with 45 joints operated in three days. It was an enriching experience for the team, and of course, everyone was full of enthusiasm to plan the next trip. Over the next 10 years, 2 Operation Walk teams operated 6 times in Cuba, helping over 250 patients.
- 18 Teams Nationwide
- 100 Trips
- 25 Countries
- 10,000 Patients
- $500,000 Value of volunteer time donated for each mission
Although Cuba has gained an international reputation for health care, they still lack many resources and capacity to provide joint replacement for most of its citizens. Although medical tourism exists, most Cubans do not have the means to afford joint replacement procedures. Arthritis and other debilitating musculoskeletal problems are a tremendous drain on individuals, families, and society due to limitations in mobility and livelihood.
The Cuban government operates a national health system and assumes fiscal and administrative responsibility for the health care of all its citizens. There are no private hospitals or clinics, as all health services are government-run. Like the rest of the Cuban economy, Cuban medical care suffered following the end of Soviet subsidies in 1991 and the stepping up of the United States embargo against Cuba at this time also affected the country.
2019 Cuba Mission Details
Two NWOS surgeons, Dr. Kirk Reichard and Dr. Jonathan Keeve, along with PA David Baca, RN Sarah Miller, Photographer/Videographer Brent Meeske, and Mission Coordinator Erin Myers, joined Dr. Jared Roberts of Operation Walk’s Albany Team in Havana, Cuba. In just one week, the team completed joint replacements for forty Cubans suffering from debilitating and painful severe arthritis and other bone and joint conditions. Read More About the 2019 NWOS Team Mission Trip to Cuba
Learn More About Operation Walk
- Operation Walk Website
- Operation Walk Facebook
- Operation Walk Spokane Facebook
- Operation Walk Albany Facebook