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Event provided free hand surgeries for uninsured patients

Aug. 15, 2019, 9:59 AM

Last weekend, people who are uninsured received free treatments for outpatient upper extremity conditions at Vanderbilt Bone & Joint in Franklin.
Last weekend, people who are uninsured received free treatments for outpatient upper extremity conditions at Vanderbilt Bone Orthopaedics in Franklin. (photo by Donn Jones)

Hand surgeons and other Vanderbilt Health staff donated their time on Aug. 10 at Vanderbilt Orthopaedics in Franklin to offer surgeries to people who are uninsured and need surgical treatment for outpatient upper extremity conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and ganglion cysts.

This is the third year Donald Lee, MD, professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation and Academic and Hand Fellowship director, organized “Touching Hands,” an initiative of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

Surgeries were performed on 17 people, volume nearly tripling since the first year.

Patient referrals from five Nashville clinics were coordinated through Shade Tree Clinic, Vanderbilt’s student-run free clinic. The surgeries were performed by Lee, Jaron Sullivan, MD, and Mihir Desai, MD, with assistance from hand and upper extremity fellow Derek Vaughn, MD, and orthopaedic resident physicians Nicholas Golinvaux, MD, Callie Jewett, MD, and Hayden Joseph, MD. Anesthesia services were provided by Vikram Bansal, MD, assistant professor of Clinical Anesthesiology, and certified registered nurse anesthetists Donna Keeney, Shuhanna O’Bryan and Gwen Sanders.

Brittany Lovell, a surgery scheduling specialist at Vanderbilt Bone & Joint in Franklin, said she was asked by Lee to take the front desk on Saturday and was happy to help.

“It’s incredible to see the faces of relief of patients who are getting the care they need and it’s not a financial burden,” she said. “It’s very nice to see not only staff but also providers get excited about helping the community.”

Gwen Sanders, CRNA, said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to give back to the people in our own community and enjoy our time with co-workers — everybody coming together for a common goal.”

Preston Perkerson, a Nashville landscaper, was having an extensor tendon transfer and carpal tunnel surgery on his right hand. He heard about the Touching Hands service through his doctor at Neighborhood Health.

“This means a lot,” Perkerson said. “It’s going to allow me to do things I’ve not been able to do for a long time now.”

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