Day 5: Monday March 22nd

With our last half day in the OR this morning, we were able to complete all of the remaining procedures and reach our goal of 60 joint replacements in 45 patients.

The last operation of the trip was a complicated revision case which was performed jointly by Dr Thornhill and his Dominican colleague Dr Alcantara (see picture at right). The specifics of the case would have made it challenging in any setting, but that was especially true here in the Dominican Republic given the resources at our disposal. In spite of these limitations, the procedure went smoothly and the patient is expected to do well.

Today the group was also surpised to see that we made the front page of the major newspaper here in the Dominican republic (see images below).

When translated, the captions read “No more wheelchairs” and “Surgeries for getting up and walking.” The continuation of the story runs under the headline “Surgeries raise patients from their wheelchairs” and “For free: In private sector would cost 400,000 pesos" (around US$13,000).

While this value is quite high (and way beyond the means of most people living in the Dominican Republic), it is actually a dramatic underestimate of the true cost of the procedures being performed. To begin with, the implants that we brought on the trip cost approximately US$800,000 alone! It is only through the generosity of Depuy Orthopaedics, who donated all the implants at no charge, that we have been able to conduct this work. (To get a sense of the hardware required to do these procedures, take a look at Josh with all the implants he had to bring just for the complicated revision case depicted above.)

When you see the end results, however, it’s hard to argue that it isn’t worth it. We'll end today's post with a few pictures of happy patients taken today: