The IHC orthopedic surgery team first met Aaron in August of 2006 during their first mission to the island of St. Vincent. Quiet and withdrawn, Aaron was suffering from a congenital deformity in his left hip that left him in constant pain and hardly able to walk. The head of Aaron’s femur had gradually begun to erode, a condition known as “avascular necrosis” and ever since he was 13, Aaron struggled to get around and lead a normal life. Upon being seen in 2006, Aaron was immediately placed on IHC’s US Referral waiting list in hopes of getting a hip replacement surgery in the United States.
Aaron and his family continued to wait for the chance to travel to Virginia for treatment, but unfortunately after 4 years, Aaron was still waiting. IHC anesthesiologist Dr. Mike Estes who had seen Aaron each year since 2006 was determined to bring the care that Aaron needed to St. Vincent. He recruited adult orthopedic surgeon Dr. Fred McGlynn, a specialist in total joint replacement surgery, to travel to St. Vincent to replace Aaron’s hip. With the gracious and life-saving support of Jeff Harper and Zimmer Medical, IHC was able to acquire over $25,000 worth of donated hip implant materials to carry to St. Vincent with the team.
On the day he was to receive surgery, Aaron was all smiles, a sight the team had never seen in their 4 years of knowing him. Following surgery, Aaron was strong, focused and determined; he was up and walking within one day of his procedure. For IHC, Aaron’s story embodies the hope and perseverance of all our patients, and the dedicated commitment of our amazing volunteers who strive to bring care to all those who need it.
Submitted by Sarah Sloan, Deputy Program Manager-We Send
Be sure to check back later this week for a personal thank you note to IHC from Aaron!