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Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons Changing Lives in Vietnam

Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons Changing Lives in Vietnam -- ROSEMONT, Ill., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

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Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons Changing Lives in Vietnam


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The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society Recently Completed 9th Surgical Outreach Project to VietnamROSEMONT, Ill., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This year marks the 9th Annual Surgical Outreach Project to Vietnam by members of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS). Since the first project in 2002, the AOFAS surgeons have transformed the lives of more than 600 Vietnamese children and adults with lower extremity deformities and disabilities through corrective surgery. Due to the cost, these patients would likely never receive the care or surgery provided by the AOFAS members. Two teams of visiting AOFAS members volunteer over a four week period traveling to villages and towns in northern and central Vietnam and work 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.



Naomi Shields, MD is a veteran on these trips having participated annually for the past nine years. "I have seen a lot of changes over the 9 years, especially in the traffic and the high rise buildings. What has not changed has been the friendly welcoming nature of the Vietnamese people, and the overwhelming need especially for the poor and disabled. What we do is a small drop in the bucket of need but for the 600 patients AOFAS surgeons have operated on, that drop has been life changing. I hope we can continue with this project and expand to other countries," said Dr. Shields.

The AOFAS Overseas Outreach Project to Vietnam supported by the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Outreach & Education Fund (OEF) is a partnership initiative with the Prosthetics Outreach Foundation (POF), which has been providing prosthetic limbs to Vietnamese children and adults since the 1990s but until 2002 lacked an advanced medical services component for patients in need.

As a complement to the mission of the POF, the AOFAS project offers free 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 nine years of the project, AOFAS surgeons have seen more than 2,000 patients in clinics and operated on more than 600 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 educational component of the mission creates opportunities for local surgeons to learn directly of new surgical advancements in the treatment of foot and ankle disease and deformities.

Participating in this year's project were: Judith Baumhauer, MD, Rochester, NY; A. Holly Johnson, MD, Boston, MA; Steven Sheskier, MD, NY, NY; Naomi Shields, MD; Wichita, KS and

Saul Trevino, MD, Columbia, MO. During the four week project, the surgeons traveled to hospitals in Thai Nguyen (northwest of Hanoi); Thanh Hoa, (coastal city south of Hanoi); Dien Bien Phu (mountainous region along the Laotian border), and worked at both an orthopaedic and rehabilitation center and Viet Duc University Hospital in Hanoi.

The American Orthopaedic Foot and 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. To find out more about the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, the Surgical Outreach Project to Vietnam, or the Prosthetic Outreach Foundation log onto or

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About the AOFAS

The AOFAS promotes quality, ethical and cost-effective patient care through education, research and training of orthopaedic surgeons and other health care providers. It creates public awareness for the prevention and treatment of foot and ankle disorders, provides leadership, and serves as a resource for government, industry and the national and international health care community.

About Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle SurgeonsOrthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons are medical doctors (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis, care, and treatment of patients with disorders of the musculoskeletal system of the foot and ankle. This includes the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles tendons, nerves, and skin. Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons use medical, physical, and rehabilitative methods as well as surgery to treat patients of all ages. They perform reconstructive procedures, treat sports injuries, and manage and treat trauma of the foot and ankle.

Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons work with physicians of many other specialties, including internal medicine, pediatrics, vascular surgery, endocrinology, radiology, anesthesiology, and others. Medical school curriculum and post-graduate training provides the solid clinical background necessary to recognize medical problems, admit patients to a hospital when necessary, and contribute significantly to the coordination of care appropriate for each patient.


SOURCE American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
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