Medical Volunteers Travel to Nepal to Perform Joint Surgeries, Bring Back Special Patient

Northwestern Medicine
Orthopaedics June 22, 2012

Operation Walk Chicago LogoA group of 13 medical volunteers, including physicians and staff from Northwestern Memorial, are currently in Kathmandu, Nepal, with the not-for-profit medical organization Operation Walk Chicago. Under the direction of Dr. Victoria Brander and Dr. David Stulberg, Operation Walk provides comprehensive, state-of-the-art free hip and knee replacements for impoverished patients with debilitating joint disease. The group also works to educate local healthcare professionals on the most advanced treatments for these conditions. While in Nepal they will perform 15 hip and knee replacements surgeries helping the patients regain mobility and life free of pain. Joint replacement technology is new in Nepal, and the team is working to set up a joint replacement center, which would be the first of its kind in Nepal. This will be the team's fourth trip to Nepal.

When the team returns to Chicago on June 24, they will bring with them a very special patient named Sajina. Sajina is 25 years old and one of the thousands of young Nepalese women who fall victim to human trafficking every year. She traveled to Lebanon believing that she would work as a maid, but soon after her arrival the man and woman of the house began savagely beating her. She tried to leave several times, but the authorities returned her to the home every time. She endured the abuse for two years until one night she was beaten and fell or was thrown over a fifth floor balcony and left for dead. Ultimately, through Amnesty International, she was returned to her family in Nepal. She had suffered a severe pelvic and hip fracture, foot and ankle fractures and soft tissue injuries. She did not receive proper medical care which left her immobile, unable to walk and in constant pain for nearly two years.

The Operation Walk Team met Sajina on their last visit to Nepal. At that time, they realized that the local hospital could not accommodate the complex surgery she required. Operation Walk has worked diligently to bring her to Chicago to receive the complex pelvic reconstruction and hip replacement she needs in order to walk normally again. This is the first time that the organization has brought a patient back to the United States for treatment.

While in Chicago, she will undergo the operation at Northwestern Memorial and then extensive inpatient rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. You can follow Sajina’s story here where we will provide updates from the Operation Walk team in Nepal, as well as mark milestones during her stay in Chicago.

To learn more about Operation Walk and to hear Sajina’s story in her own words, view this video.

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