John Tessier, MD
John Tessier, MD
Orthopaedic Surgery · Saint Louis, MO

Orthopaedic Hip & Knee Surgical Mission

January 10th
Santiago, Dominican Republic

Project Description

Twelve years ago I started an annual Orthopaedic Surgical Mission using the ILAC (Institute for Latin American Concern) Mission platform to access 160 remote rural villages in the Dominican Republic. A triage system is in place that allow a healthcare co-ordinator -"co-operadore" to arrange bus transportation for these indigent local patients crippled with hip & knee arthritis to come to the Mission Clinic in the fall of each year. X-rays and an initial pre-operative visit is provided by our Dominican Orthopaedic partners. We assisted these young Orthopaedists with their training a decade ago on our earlier Missions. These poor people do not have access to any Orthopaedic healthcare.

Population Served

Initially we started operating at the Mission Surgery Center in Santiago, D.R. Eight years ago we transitioned to Juan Bosch Traumatology Hospital 40 minutes away in the city of LaVega. Annually our entire volunteer team provides 50-60 total hip & knee replacement operations at no charge to these indigent patients and their families. We provide these procedures only to patients who lack access to care in the Dominican Republic. Our Mission's administrative staff & our translators assure the financial hardship status of all of our pre-op patients. Our Team uses their personal vacation time to come on this Mission each year. Without this Mission trip in northern Dominican Republic, these patients would spend their lives with crutches and walkers.

Expected Impact

We fund raise and cover all room & board and travel expenses for our nurses, technicians and therapists. We work with our implant vendors in the states which allows us the opportunity to provide all surgical supplies, instruments and joint implants. The Hospital supplies us a bus, IV fluids, antibiotics, patient beds and four Operating Rooms. We ship in all other supplies. We share the pre-operative Clinics, surgical experience and post-operative care with our Dominican Doctors, nurses and therapists. We have raised the bar of Orthopaedic care in the country. Each year the Domincans are one step closer to sustainability.

Trip Photos & Recap

Our Orthopedic team consisted of nurses, surgeons,anesthesiologist, internist,physical therapist,surgical assistants & technicians as well as Orthopaedic sales reps.The patients that were evaluated have very limited access to orthopedic specialty care. These indigent,vulnerable Dominican patients suffered with long-standing hip and knee osteoarthritis or amputees with painful residual limbs that would not allow them to wear a prosthesis. We performed 55 life changing surgeries in 5 days.The stories of how these surgeries impacted these patients quality-of-life are powerful and their gratitude was over-flowing. Thank you, DOXIMITY for your support of this humanitarian project.