PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Orthopedic surgeon Thomas Muzzonigro and physician assistant Chris VanSchepen work with a patient at Tri Rivers Surgical Associates in Butler.
And yet, two weeks ago, they were treating poverty stricken patients in Honduras, many of who had never gone to a doctor.
“Yesterday we did surgery, they went upstairs to the recovery room, then to their air-conditioned recovery room which is enclosed,” Dr. Muzzonigro says. “Back in San Pedro, they went outside in a tent on post-op day one, and had physical therapy in a tent.”
Sixty unpaid doctors and helpers spent eight days in Honduras with the Pittsburgh chapter of a group called Operation Walk.
“It’s an organization that seeks to restore function and mobility and the gift of walking to patients,” says the surgeon. “Our national organization feels that walking is a key to life, so walking is life.”
They brought millions of dollars’ worth of supplies, and a priceless bounty of hope.
“We performed 59 surgeries on 54 patients, under fairly adverse conditions,” Dr. Muzzonigro says.
His son TJ was one of the volunteers. He hopes one day to be an orthopedic surgeon, like his dad.
“To see him functioning with those patients, and see how much they really invest in him, and appreciate what he does for them is unbelievable,” TJ says.
His father says it’s not just the patients who walk away with smiles.
“It’s the best thing I’ve done ever with regards to my vocation and my work. Bar none,” said Dr. Muzzonigro.
For more information, visit Operation Walk Pittsburgh’s website here.