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Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons Changing Lives in Vietnam
Date:9/20/2010

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.

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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
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SOURCE American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
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