Volunteers in Medicine
AAHKS member Brian A. Jewett MD works in Eugene, Oregon at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Sacred Heart and its main organization, Peacehealth, has operated a volunteer medical clinic known as Volunteers in Medicine.
This clinic was typically staffed with retired general practitioners to take care of the working poor of Eugene. In 2006, Dr. Jewett began a volunteer orthopaedic clinic at Volunteers in Medicine once a month on a Tuesday night.
Typically they took care of hands, feet, shoulders, and knees and hips. The volume of patients with severe arthritis of the knees and hips began to grow. There were often people holding down two jobs without health insurance struggling severely to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads. It became obvious that they needed to do something.
After listening to Dr. Dorr at the AAOS in Washington DC where he was honored for his Operation Walk program, they created a spin off of Volunteers in Medicine, known as Volunteers in Motion. They recruited OR and PACU room nurses, anesthesiologists, and hospital administrators to create a day of free total joints at Sacred Heart Hospital. They picked a Saturday in December, and obtained free implants from Zimmer, who stepped up to support the program. All of the implants, nurses, surgeons, and anesthesiologists volunteered to work the day for free, saving the hospital a large amount of money, money they would have spent taking care of these individuals otherwise on a regular day of surgery.
The first year they did two total knees and one hip. The second year they did three total knee arthroplasties and two total hip arthroplasties. Now they have a regular end of the year celebration around Christmas and give 5-7 patients a free TKA or THA through the Volunteer in Medicine/Motion program. The hospital and the volunteer clinic love it, and the community has benefitted wonderfully. The inspiration from Dr. Dorr came to them from his speech at the AAOS, but they choose to focus locally to help their neighbors in need.