Specialized medical care is rare in Panama, meaning people there have relatively little or no access to life-changing surgeries such as hip and knee replacements – which in many cases can leave them unable to walk or facing a lifetime of debilitating pain. The country of Panama has a population of approximately 4.1 million with thousands of patients waiting for joint replacements.
Operation Walk Carolinas traveled to Panama in May 2019 for a week to provide screening clinics, teaching, surgery and post-op care. The medical team made up of 50 providers from OrthoCarolina, Atrium Health and Novant Health performed 60 total hip and knee replacements on 54 patients. This is the largest number of joint replacements performed to date since Operation Walk Carolinas took its first trip to Cuba in 2017.
For those under the care of OpWalk Carolinas in Panama, new joints at no cost mean a new chance at life: walking again without pain, or perhaps the ability to hold a job and provide for their families. Most importantly, mobility means spending time with loved ones and doing the things they love to do.
While in Panama, the Operation Walk Carolinas medical team also hosted professional education training for local physicians about advanced orthopedic treatments and care.