CONCORD, N.C. -- A group of Charlotte’s top doctors and nurses are off to Cuba, to do surgery on patients who can’t afford it otherwise.
The doctors and nurses -- about 40 of them -- will perform more than 50 knee and hip replacements throughout the next week.
It’s all part of Operation Walk Carolinas, a group made up of doctors from OrthoCarolina, Carolinas HealthCare System, and Novant Health. They offer free surgery and treatment to people in developing countries.
The national organization has been around for 20 years, but after a trip to Panama in 2015, Dr. Walt Beaver and Dr. Bryan Springer knew Charlotte needed one of its own.
“There are 90 patients waiting for us," Dr. Walt Beaver says. "We’re gonna do at least 50 or 60 joint replacements to get people up and walking again, hence the Operation Walk.”
This trip to Cuba is Charlotte’s first mission. Flying in style, thanks to a donated charter flight provided by Hendrick Aviation. The donation is much appreciated since funding for these trips is often raised by the medical providers themselves. They plan to hit the ground running for the next week, to help Cuba as much as they can.
“Cuba actually has wonderful doctors," says Dr. Bryan Springer. "They actually have wonderful healthcare training for their doctors, but they simply just lack the resources to do something as advanced as hip and knee replacement surgery.”