The humanitarian effort was led by three Tampa Bay Area Healthcare Organizations
Tampa, Fl. – December 19, 2022
As part of a nationwide effort to help patients with debilitating joint conditions improve their quality of life, AdventHealth Carrollwood, Florida Orthopaedic Institute and Pioneer Medical Foundation joined forces for a second year to provide eight uninsured patients throughout the Tampa Bay area with free hip and knee replacements. According to Operation Walk USA, the healthcare organizations hosted the largest number of patients than any other site in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), arthritis disease is the most common cause of disability in the U.S. Nearly 54 million Americans suffer from the debilitating illness and the number is expected to rise by 2040. That is where Operation Walk USA comes into play. The international volunteer organization teams up with surgeons and hospitals around the world to facilitate joint replacements for uninsured patients at no cost.
Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Brian T. Palumbo and Dr. Steven T. Lyons with AdventHealth Carrollwood, and Florida Orthopaedic Institute spearheaded the surgeries. They would like to expand the free surgeries to more patients and encourage other doctors in the region to participate in the initiative.
“As a man who was raised in poverty, I know firsthand how hard it is not to have access to high-quality healthcare,” said Dr. Brian T. Palumbo, Orthopedic Surgeon with AdventHealth Carrollwood and Florida Orthopaedic Insititute. “I am very proud to be teaming up with Operation Walk USA for a second year and providing patients in my own community with the opportunity to improve their mobility and quality of life.”
“Being able to give back is highly rewarding when encountering patients that find orthopedic joint replacement inaccessible,” said Dr. Steven T. Lyons, Orthopedic Surgeon with AdventHealth Carrollwood and Florida Orthopaedic Institute. “When I operate on a patient in that situation, it is like throwing a stone into a body of water. The ripple effect travels over time throughout the entire body of water. The same is with surgery. The healing and improvement of that one person not only can affect them, but also their family, and ultimately their community. The singular act of helping one patient truly impacts so many others.”
The doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, physical therapists, and other team members from AdventHealth Carrollwood contributed to the cause by donating clinical space and expertise.
“Providing compassionate, high-quality care is at the forefront of what we do,” said Erika Skula, President and CEO at AdventHealth Carrollwood. “We are honored to be participating in this humanitarian effort whose goal is to improve the lives of uninsured patients. Our teams are committed to providing everyone in the community with expert care and improving their quality of life. This is a remarkable achievement.”
Pioneer Medical Foundation worked closely with the eight patients by providing them with medications, medical equipment, and other pre-and post-operative care services to ensure a positive outcome.
“Our mission is to provide access to free healthcare for those that are uninsured underinsured and underserved,” said Dr. Ifran Ali, President and CEO at Pioneer Medical Group. “Through this program, we can provide the gift of mobility to deserving individuals who did not have access. Some of these patients we have seen in clinic over the last year preparing them for this life-changing surgery. It is truly an honor to serve our community in this way especially during this season of giving.”
This is the twelfth year of Operation Walk USA. The humanitarian effort takes place each December. Since its inception, the program has provided more than $22.4 million in surgeries. For more information visit www.operationwalkusa.org or follow Operation Walk USA 2022 on Facebook.