Local Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon Changing Lives in Vietnam

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2011 Vietnam Photos
Monterrey Surgeon Participates in Surgical Outreach Project to Vietnam
ROSEMONT, IL, July 27, 2011 – Local orthopaedic surgeon, Angel Arnaud Franco, MD of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon participated in this year’s 10th Annual Surgical Outreach Project to Vietnam with members of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS). The surgeons provide corrective surgery to Vietnamese children and adults with lower extremity deformities and disabilities. Since the first project in 2002, more than 700 patients have benefited from their service performed without charge. Due to the cost, many of these patients would likely never receive the care or surgery provided by Dr. Arnaud and the AOFAS members.

Dr. Arnaud was among three teams of visiting AOFAS member volunteers traveling to villages and towns in northern and central Vietnam over a four week period working side by side in clinics and operating rooms with Vietnamese orthopaedic surgeons and residents as part of an educational exchange. The AOFAS members volunteer their time, pay their own travel expenses, and in the end their own lives are changed by the experience.
When asked about his experience, Dr. Arnaud remarked, "This has been an unforgettable experience.  I thought I was going to be the one helping by sharing my knowledge and skills, but truthfully nothing had prepared me for the way I was welcomed and the kindly disposition the Vietnamese had towards us. They shared not only what they had, but most importantly made us part of their daily lives.  What marked my heart the most was the need of hope, the faith in being able to give them their health back or even ease their lives in any way. Being a bearer of this hope represented a huge commitment and responsibility for us. This experience helped me learn and comprehend that not only pain and the need to survive keeps us closer or more attached to each other, but also makes us stronger and real human beings, as we know that to love and protect our people from all around the world makes for harmony and offers a solution for peace."
The AOFAS Overseas Outreach Project to Vietnam supported by the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Outreach & Education Fund (OEF) is a partnership initiative with the Seattle-based Prosthetics Outreach Foundation (POF), which has been providing prosthetic limbs to Vietnamese children and adults without charge since the 1990s but until ten years ago lacked an advanced medical services component for patients in need. 

As a complement to the mission of the POF, the AOFAS project offers corrective surgery to patients with lower limb deformities and disabilities caused by polio, cerebral palsy, clubfoot, trauma or amputation. Many patients are from impoverished areas often without access to care and/or are unable to afford advanced medical services. Over the ten years of the project, AOFAS surgeons have seen more than 2,000 patients in clinics and operated on more than 700 patients. 
The AOFAS members share new technologies with Vietnamese orthopaedic surgeons and in return are exposed to foot and ankle conditions that many have only read about as classic textbook cases, such as severe untreated clubfoot.  In addition to the surgical component, the AOFAS co-sponsored an educational conference on Surgery of the Lower Extremity in Hanoi. The visiting surgeons participated in the educational exchange which was attended by more than 150 Vietnamese orthopaedic surgeons. This cultural and professional exchange further enhances the experience for both AOFAS members and Vietnamese orthopaedic surgeons, while the service and educational components of the mission create opportunities for local surgeons to learn directly about new surgical advancements in the treatment of foot and ankle disease and deformities.

In addition to Dr. Arnaud, participants in this year’s project were: Mario Kuhn Adames, MD, Florianopolis/Santa Catarina, Brazil; L. Samuel Barouk, MD, Bordeaux, France; R. Dale Blasier, MD, Little Rock, Arkansas; Pascal F. Rippstein, MD, Zurich, Switzerland; Peter B. Salamon, MD, Stockton, California and Naomi Shields, MD, Wichita, Kansas.  During the four week project, the surgeons traveled to hospitals and orthopaedic rehabilitation centers in Dien Bien, Thai Nguyen, Hai Phong, and Hanoi.
The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society is a professional society of more than 1,800 orthopaedic surgeons specializing in diagnosis, care and treatment of patients with disorders of the musculoskeletal system of the foot and ankle. The Surgical Outreach Project to Vietnam is supported by the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Outreach & Education Fund by generous donations from individuals and industry. To find out more about the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society and the Surgical Outreach Project to Vietnam, or the Prosthetic Outreach Foundation log onto www.aofas.org or www.pofsea.org.  
About the AOFAS
The AOFAS promotes quality, ethical and cost-effective patient care through the education, research and training of orthopaedic surgeons and other health care providers. The Society creates public awareness for the prevention and treatment of foot and ankle disorders, provides leadership, and serves as a resource for government and industry as well as the national and international health care communities.​
About Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons
Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons are medical doctors (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons use medical, physical and rehabilitative methods as well as surgery to treat patients of all ages. Relying on four years of medical school training, five years of post-graduate training and often a fellowship in foot and ankle care, orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons perform reconstructive procedures, treat sports injuries, and manage and treat trauma of the foot and ankle.


Jennifer Hicks
Public Education Manager
Office: 847-430-5079