Annual Week of Service Provides Needed Orthopedic Care to Under-Served Rural Haitian Population
ATLANTA, February 12, 2018 (Newswire.com) - OrthoAtlanta Medical Director Michael J. Behr, M.D., recently completed a medical mission trip to Haiti, in what has become his eighth annual visit to the impoverished island nation. From Feb. 3-8, 2018, Dr. Behr participated in a volunteer program that was begun more than 28 years ago by Atlanta-area orthopedic surgeons to provide needed orthopedic services to Haitian citizens through the Hospital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschapelles, a rural mountain community in central Haiti.
A practicing orthopedic surgeon with OrthoAtlanta for over 25 years, Dr. Behr began his annual mission trips to the country of Haiti in 2010, the year of the deadly earthquake that killed thousands of people and left so much of the island in ruins. The needs at that time were obvious and immediate, but need continues today. This reality strengthens Dr. Behr’s commitment to the country and brings him back to Haiti every year since. Board-certified and fellowship-trained in orthopedic surgery, Dr. Behr’s special emphasis included sports medicine, arthroscopic surgery and hip and knee replacement. During his week-long service in Haiti, Dr. Behr provided his expertise across a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, ranging from trauma to rare bone disease.
Dr. Behr, who today serves as the OrthoAtlanta medical director, shared insights into his draw to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. As described by Dr. Behr, “Haiti is less than three hours and 1,285 miles from the U.S., yet the impoverishment is real and need for quality medical care ongoing. Prior to our arrival, patients will travel to the hospital, some walking many miles and waiting in line for several days, for their turn to see a physician.”
As part of the Atlanta-based program, teams of two to three orthopedic surgeons, along with other medical professionals from multiple physician practices, travel together to Haiti for a week of service. The first several days are spent examining patients, providing immediate treatment and identifying those who will require surgery. The surgeries are performed during the final few days of the week. After the team returns to the U.S., followup examinations are conducted by the full-time general surgeons and part-time orthopedic surgeons at HAS. The next orthopedic team from the U.S. may arrive three to four months later; they may provide followup examinations as needed.
Reflecting on his eighth volunteer trip to Haiti, Dr. Behr stated, “Taking time to give back to the people of Haiti is an important priority for me. The medical care that physicians such as myself can provide to the Haitian patients can help turn their lives around by providing mobility and function by treating correctable orthopedic problems. The opportunity to serve is energizing. It is a personally rewarding part of my life and a medical career dedicated to helping others.”
OrthoAtlanta is the second-largest physician-owned orthopedic and sports medicine practice in the greater Atlanta, Georgia, area. With 39 physicians serving in 13 offices, the practice provides the highest level of patient care for injury or deformity of muscles, joints, bones and spine. OrthoAtlanta offers convenient accessibility to a full range of musculoskeletal surgeons, specialists and patient services including on-site physical therapy, pain management care, seven MRI imaging centers and workers’ compensation coordination. OrthoAtlanta Surgery Centers in Austell and Fayetteville provide cost-effective, same-day surgical procedures in an accredited outpatient center. Comprehensive operative and non-operative musculoskeletal care and expertise include sports medicine, arthroscopic surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement, neck and spine surgery, elbow and shoulder surgery, foot and ankle surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, arthritis treatment, general orthopedics, work-related injuries and acute orthopaedic urgent care.
Learn more at www.OrthoAtlanta.com.
For additional information, please contact Pat Prosser, Public Relations Manager at OrthoAtlanta, 678-996-7254 or via email pprosser@OrthoAtlanta.com.