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Volunteer event again makes hand surgeries possible for uninsured

Jul. 26, 2018, 9:33 AM


About three dozen Vanderbilt University Medical Center employees will spend a Saturday volunteering their time so uninsured people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand disorders can receive surgical treatment.

Aug. 11 will mark the second time they’ve staged the Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Outreach Day, an event that is part of the Touching Hands Project, an initiative of the American Society for Hand Surgery.

At last year’s Orthopaedic Outreach Day, the volunteer team performed surgeries on nine people. This year’s event will be held at Vanderbilt Bone & Joint in Franklin.

Gov. Bill Haslam has proclaimed the date Hand Surgery Outreach Day in honor of the employees’ volunteerism.

This year’s event will be held at Vanderbilt Bone & Joint Franklin, 206 Bedford Way, Franklin, Tennessee.

Patients scheduled for the surgeries received referrals from The Shade Tree Clinic, a free health clinic staffed by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Nursing students.

“This is a good program that helps the needy in Middle Tennessee,” said Donald Lee, MD, professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation.

“The many volunteers from Vanderbilt provide compassion, giving time and work to take care of people. Everyone who participated last year derived a lot of benefit from Outreach Day.”

The American Society for Hand Surgery, which has coordinated international mission work for a number of years, staged its first Touch Hands Project in the United States in Atlanta a couple of years ago. VUMC held the second one, followed by events in San Francisco, Philadelphia and other cities.

Lee has reached out to orthopaedic surgeons from Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga about holding events in those cities.

Nine people underwent surgeries at the event VUMC staged last year.

Hand surgeons performed procedures on patients with carpal tunnel, trigger finger, ganglion cysts and ulnar nerve malfunction.

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