Manduji Wadkar from Bhambavade village in Bhor who has suffered from knee pain for the past decade never thought he would go in for knee replacement surgery,especially from a USA doctor and that too,free of cost. But,doctors from Operation Walk Chicago,a voluntary organisation from USA made it possible at Kashibai Navale Medical College and General Hospital,Narhe.
A team of 50 doctors,nurses,anesthetists,general physicians and other volunteers associated with Operation Walk Chicago,performed knee replacement surgeries on 36 patients at the hospital from January 11 to January 15. The team performed knee replacement surgeries on 27 females and 9 males who had come from Dharwad,Nagpur,Mumbai and Pune. While the usual cost for the surgery on one knee is about Rs 1.5 lakh,a total of 65 knees were replaced in four days.The team understands that knee replacement surgeries are expensive and are not available for all patients. Therefore,the team managed their travel and lodging expense,as well as raised money to bear the cost of these surgeries, said Dr S David Stulberg,Director,Joint Reconstruction and Implant Surgery,Northwestern Memorial Hospital,Chicago.
Most of these doctors are working with this hospital and have performed more than 2500 hip and knee replacement surgeries during their tours to China,Peru,Nicaragua and Ecuador for the past seven years. This is the first time we came to India. We toured other Orthopaedic hospitals in Pune and selected Navale hospital because of their expertise,modern equipment and making their infrastructure available for the surgeries, said Dr Victoria Brander,Director of Operation Walk Chicago. Stulberg said that the team has adopted new techniques not just in surgery,bust also in nursing,anesthesia,pain management and other medical aspects,to make it cost effective. Our motive will be fulfilled when the local team of doctors adopt these techniques and implement them for needy patients, he said. Some of the team members will be visiting the hospital after six months to take a follow-up of the patients operated on.