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Operation Walk: SMH, Local Surgeon Team Up To Give Gift of Mobility

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Sarasota Herald Tribune Article


SARASOTA (Dec. 1, 2014)  – Orthopedic Surgeon Adam Bright, MD, and Sarasota Memorial are teaming up this week to provide free total knee replacements to three Sarasota County patients who otherwise could not afford the care, through Operation Walk USA this week.

The three local patients are among an estimated 120 nationwide who will receive free joint replacements from 85 volunteer orthopedic surgeons at 36 hospitals across the nation through the not-for-profit Operation Walk USA, which is held annually the first week in December.

While more than a million hip and knee replacement surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year, at an average cost of $25,000, many individuals who desperately need new joints to minimize pain and restore life quality do not receive them because they lack insurance and cannot afford them.

This is the first time that Sarasota Memorial has participated in Operation Walk, though both Dr. Bright and the hospital’s Community Medical Clinic have provided free joint replacements on an ongoing basis to qualifying patients throughout the years.

“Operation Walk USA shares our mission to provide essential care to those in need – we are fortunate to be able to join in this national campaign to help local people in our own community,” said Dr. Bright, who regularly volunteers and provides free care at Sarasota Memorial’s Community Medical Clinic. “Many of the patients who qualify for the free joint replacements are in intense pain or completely immobilized by arthritis. This surgery has the real potential of giving them their lives back.”

Sarasota Memorial Community Medical Clinic Manager Kathryn Cantley, RN, said Dr. Bright volunteers regularly at the clinic, taking care of a variety of orthopedic needs for low income patients who otherwise would fall through the cracks – they do not have health insurance and cannot afford the medical care needed to address their health challenges.

“This is just one more example of his dedication and altruism,” Cantley said. “Our community benefits greatly because of the time and expertise he freely gives to our clinic patients every month.”

With the artificial joints donated by Operation Walk USA, patients in the program are able to receive all aspects of treatment - surgery, hospitalization, and pre-and post-operative care - at no cost. Those who qualify must be low income – 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines – and not be eligible for government health coverage, have insurance or afford surgery on their own.

Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the U.S., affecting approximately 46 million Americans, or more than 21 percent of the adult population. The debilitating pain of end-stage hip or knee degenerative disease often makes working, or completing even the simplest of daily tasks, excruciatingly painful or impossible.

Operation Walk USA began in 2010 following the tremendous success of Operation Walk, an international volunteer medical service organization that provides treatment for patients with arthritis and joint conditions in developing countries. To date, more than 6,500 patients have received new knees and hips through the international Operation Walk, and nearly

500 patients through Operation Walk USA, held in the month of December,

2010 through 2013. Since 2010, Operation Walk USA knee and hip replacement surgeries and related care are valued at more than $13.2 million.

Device manufacturers Biomet, DePuy, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Total Joint Orthopedics (TJO), Inc. and Zimmer are donating the hip and knee implants for 2014 Operation Walk; SunMedica, Inc., orthoRAP and koolRAP products; Quill Medical, Inc., sutures; and Ortech Data, Inc., electronic medical record (EMR) management. Ortech will transfer Operation Walk USA 2014 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant data to the American Joint Replacement Registry, a national center for data collection and research on total hip and knee replacements.

Operation Walk USA 2014 facts:

  • Operation Walk USA 2014 will be held at hospitals throughout the country, December 1 through December 6.
  • An estimated 85 orthopaedic surgeons will provide hip and joint replacements, free of charge, to 120 patients.
  • Operation Walk USA 2014 is based on the successful experiences of Operation Walk, which has provided hip and knee replacements to thousands of patients throughout the world since 1996.
  • This is the fifth year for Operation Walk USA, which has provided free total joint replacement to 492 patients to date.
  • To find a list of participating orthopaedic surgeons and cities, visit, or follow Operation Walk USA 2014 on Facebook.

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System: Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of inpatient, outpatient and extended care services, with more than 800 physicians, 4,000 employees and 800,000 patient visits a year. Sarasota Memorial’s 806-bed acute care hospital has been recognized repeatedly as one of the nation’s best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services– from urgent care centers and physician groups, to laboratory and imaging centers, home health, rehabilitation and long-term care.

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