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Your Healthy Family: Free hand surgery day coming in Colorado Springs February 29th

Posted at 4:16 PM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 08:38:28-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Here in Colorado Springs local medical providers coming together offer free hand surgery to people in need who don't have insurance.

To see if you qualify for free hand surgery, contact Joshua Heermans with Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. You can call Joshua at 719-622-4546 or email him at JHeermans@csog.net

In October of 2018 along with the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, local orthopeadic surgeons organized the first day of free hand surgery in southern Colorado.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Dale Cassidy, MD with Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group was one of several surgeons who volunteered. “We were able to operate on twenty-one people on a Saturday. The free services we offered included all the appointments leading up to surgery as well as all the follow up care. It was life changing for some patients.”

Hand surgeons commonly treat conditions like arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, fingers that lock when you make a fist, an unexplained lump, ache, numbness or pain and old hand injuries that have not healed correctly.

Orthopaedic surgeons Dr. Karl Larsen, MD with the Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence and Dr. Ky Kobayashi, MD also with the Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence are new this year volunteering their time and expertise.

Dr. Larsen explains that, “Painful conditions and numbing conditions of the hand can be debilitating. They can have an impact ranging from work activities, even people's ability to work, to activities of daily living, preparing food, dressing to hobbies and sports and things that bring joy to your lives like musical endeavor. That can have an impact on relationships, even in your own household if you have a condition like that. Even a small surgery can have a tremendous impact on someone's life.”

In September of 2018 Lisa Waltman's daily life was constantly affected by her left hand. Lisa says, “It was hard to grasp things and it got to the point where I couldn't write, and that's when I knew I had to do something.”

Dr. Cassidy consulted on Lisa’s case and says, “She had significant arthritis of her fingertips which can make it hard to pinch and use her fingers and hand.”

Lisa who is left-handed says, “I had to stop doing anything that was sports-related. I love to golf, that was out of the question. I love to ride my motorcycle, that was out of the question. Even gardening, working on my home, I wasn't able to do that because I wasn't able to use the tools. Basically, my left hand was too painful to use.”

Lisa says she was also in another difficult situation. “Four years ago, there were cuts at work, and many people were let go. I found myself not being able to afford my insurance. I went on to find a full-time job as well as a part-time job. But then essentially, I made too much money to get any help with medical insurance, but I didn't make enough to be able to afford medical insurance.”

Dr. Cassidy says Its people exactly like Lisa in our community that this free hand surgery day aims to help. “It's been a great opportunity to really help and be a service to the community for people who are kind of caught in between and don't qualify for the safety net programs but can't afford insurance just because of the expense.”

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Jeffry Watson, MD with Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group who did Lisa’s free surgery says, “There are many people here in our backyard that are in need and don't have access, or the knowledge that they can get help for hand problems and we want to make that impact in our own community.”

The Orthopaedic and Spine Center of Southern Colorado has volunteered their facility and staff again and will host this year’s free hand surgery day on Saturday February 29th, 2020 along with many many more local healthcare providers and organizations making this happen.

Dr Watson says, “Certainly the surgeons are doing the operations, but it takes so much more than just us to get things done. To take care of patients it takes a group of people. This year, anesthesiologists from UCHealth are volunteering their time again. Pathologists from Centrua are helping us out this year. Then there are the surgical teams and circulating nurses, the scrub techs, the staff in the preoperative holding area recovery area - it takes a lot of people to take care of people who need surgery.”

Dr. Larsen explains even that monumental amount of volunteers is not enough to put on a free hand surgery day. “It takes a whole community to make these surgeries come to fruition. We need a safe facility and the folks at the Orthopedic and Spine Center of Southern Colorado are again graciously giving up time and space to perform the surgeries. We need instruments and implants that are brought in and donated by a number of companies, that are truly donating the implants and the expertise of their people. If we had to purchase those things this kind of free surgery day couldn’t happen.”

In our next story, Lisa will share how she’s doing today, and what being a patient at a free hand day was like.

To see if you qualify for free hand surgery, contact Joshua Heermans with Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. You can call Joshua at 719-622-4546 or email him at JHeermans@csog.net

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