Volunteers: We “Knee-ed” Your Help
Operation Walk Pittsburgh works with each host country to ship approximately 18 pallets of medical supplies for each mission, directly from the United States. Everything from aspirin to scrubs, sterilized trays to joint replacements parts are bought with the team to the host country.
A small group of volunteers arrives early to begin the process of unpacking and organizing all the shipped supplies. When the rest of the team arrives, the four operating rooms are prepped, stocked, and ready for a busy week of surgeries to begin.
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Volunteering for Op Walk? What to expect?
How do we choose our patients?
After the Operation Walk Pittsburgh team arrives in the host country, a screening clinic is set up at the hospital. All interested candidates are evaluated by the nursing team, which builds charts, takes patient vital signs and escorts the patients to the screening rooms where a surgeon, internist, physician assistant and nurse complete the screening. After the evaluations are completed, the team gathers for case review, where each patient’s case is discussed. With so many patients, some have to be turned away, which is the most difficult task. In 2012, there were 74 hopeful patients screened in less than 3 hours and 53 candidates were selected for surgery.
How long do the surgeries take?
Typically, Operation Walk Pittsburgh’s missions are 7 days long with 4 full surgical days. The other 3 days are spent screening patients pre-surgery, caring for/monitoring patient outcomes post-surgery and performing other humanitarian efforts.
How soon are patients walking?
On the same day as surgery, our patients take their first steps with one of our physical therapists! This is a special moment for our team members as well as our patients who have been living with trauma-induced injuries and congenital defects. Patients are able to practice some activities they will face at home or work, such as climbing stairs.