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Event to make hand surgeries possible for uninsured people

Jul. 20, 2017, 9:31 AM

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) employees are making it possible for uninsured people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand disorders to receive surgical treatment.

About 30 employees are giving up a Saturday to volunteer during Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Outreach Day on Aug. 5. The Shade Tree Clinic, a free health clinic staffed by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine students, is referring the patients.

The event is part of the Touching Hands Project, an initiative of the American Society for Hand Surgery.

“The Society for Hand Surgery is our national organization,” said Donald Lee, M.D., professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation. “They have an international outreach program where they go to international areas to volunteer their services. They are also trying to develop a national program. They did one project about a year ago in Atlanta. This will be their second program.”

Lee and Mihir Desai, M.D., assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, will be performing the procedures at the Vanderbilt Outpatient Surgery Center. The surgeries will be for carpal tunnel, trigger finger, ganglion cysts and other hand disorders.

Nurses, administrative staff, anesthesiologists, parking valets and employees from other departments will also be volunteering.

“This is a good team-building exercise for the people who are working at the Outpatient Surgery Center,” Lee said. “I think they take a lot of pride in being able to help the people in the Middle Tennessee area.”

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