An orthopedic surgery marathon was held recently in the city of Loja in southern Ecuador; 37 adults and children were operated on over 4 days. The procedures were performed by an international medical delegation that included nurses, physiotherapists, and three surgeons; among them was Professor Marc Edelman, Director of the Pediatric Orthopedic Unit at Rambam Health Care Campus.
Hundreds of patients, children and adults, sought their help. “When we arrived at Loja University Hospital we saw long lines of patients waiting for us,” Dr. Edelman shares. “A few months before our arrival the hospital announced we were coming…close to 700 people came to see us.” The hospital staff selected the 150 most urgent cases for examinations. Of these, the team performed surgery on a few dozen patients.
The visit to Ecuador was sponsored by a California-based volunteer organization “Operation Rainbow.” Each month they send surgeons to different countries in Latin America where there is a lack of knowledge, equipment, and medical personnel.
The medical team worked from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm every day for four days providing surgery and other treatments. Many patients came from villages 500 kilometers away. “These people had no other choice but to come to us. There is no one else to treat them,” says Prof. Edelman. “I also met several patients whom I had treated last year; they came for checkups and ongoing treatments. These people were not the ones I remembered from last year—these people had regained their lives."