Operationwalk.Org | Reaching All Corners Of The World Changing Lives
Dr. Lawrence D. Dorr founded Operation Walk in 1996 and developed its techniques for successful surgical missions in developing countries. These included identifying and building relationships with in-country hospitals and physicians, securing implants and other necessary medical supply donations, building volunteer teams of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals, learning how to transport medical equipment across borders and selecting patients in advance to ensure appropriate implants.
Operation Walk performs hip and knee replacements, both very complex surgeries that require skilled medical talent and typically require a team of 50 or more medical professionals for a week-long mission. These people not only volunteer their time at an estimated cost of $500,000 but they often pay their airfare and other expenses. Implants, surgical materials, medications and recovery equipment are donated by generous American companies, valued at about $1 million for each mission.
Operation Walk is unusual because it helps older people — average age is 60+. Other surgical missions typically help children or younger people. These are life-changing surgeries because the patients can’t work because they can’t walk, they are burdens on their families and villages and they have chronic pain. After surgery, patients typically WALK away from the hospital.
Operation Walk usually operates on 50 to 60 patients during each mission. The local orthopedic doctor selects 80 or so people from hundreds who need the surgeries and sends x-rays to the team in the U.S. to review and select best candidates. The team spends half of the first day of each mission screening and selecting the final patients.