Wichita Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon Changing Lives in Vietnam

Wichita Orthopaedic Surgeon Participates in 13th Surgical Outreach Trip to Vietnam
 
ROSEMONT, IL, August 15, 2011 – Local orthopaedic surgeon, Naomi Shields, MD of Wichita recently returned from her 13th trip to Vietnam (ten AOFAS sponsored trips and two on her own) providing corrective surgery to Vietnamese children and adults with lower extremity deformities and disabilities. This year marks the 10th Annual Surgical Outreach Project to Vietnam for Shields and members of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS). Since the first trip in 2002, more than 700 Vietnamese 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 the AOFAS members.
 
Dr. Shields was among three teams of visiting AOFAS member volunteers travelling to villages and towns in northern and central Vietnam over a four week period and work side by side in clinics and operating rooms with Vietnamese orthopaedic surgeons. In Hanoi the AOFAS surgeons see patients in the clinic at Viet Duc Hospital, the large teaching hospital, and perform surgery with the orthopaedic 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.
 
Naomi Shields, MD is a veteran on these trips, the only member having participated annually for the past ten years,  My first trip to Vietnam was filled with anticipation and apprehension. Now I go back eager to see friends and colleagues. Taking the first step to volunteer enriched my life and made me a better surgeon. I recommend everyone find a way to volunteer, whether locally, nationally or internationally. Giving back and helping others is an incredible experience. The AOFAS project has touched the lives of thousands and by teaching the local surgeons even more. Every year there are patients and families that amaze me. This year, at the Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Institute, we were stunned to have six mothers bring in flowers for everyone; a simple gift from families that have very little but wanted to thank us. Amazing people, amazing patience, and amazing problems that they work hard to overcome." 
 
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.
 
Also participating in this year’s project were: Mario Kuhn Adames, MD, Florianopolis, Brazil; Angel Arnaud Franco, MD, Monterrey, Mexico; L. Samuel Barouk, MD, Bordeaux, France; R. Dale Blasier, MD, Little Rock, Arkansas; Pascal F. Rippstein, MD, Zurich, Switzerland; and Peter B. Salamon, MD, Stockton, California.   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.
 

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Jennifer Hicks
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