Jan & Sarah are co founders of World Spine Outreach. A non for profit organization that has been a labor of love for 13 years. It started when Sarah, a physicians Orthopedic assistant & Jan, a head nurse of Neuro surgery in OR, traveled with hospital group.
After going on a trip of 14 days, with 7 days of surgery’s they felt the need to have to do more. In 2008, they streamlined this idea & applied for 501c3.
Searching for a group to partner with, they came across the Butterfly foundation. Butterfly foundation is a small group who’s focus was in Dominican Republic.
After teaming up the Butterfly foundation, they saw the lack of equipment as well as education in DR. Jan & Sarah started to focus on teaching. They along with the surgeons taught the residents to sterilize & how to sew, among other things.
Since then they along their team have performed 600-700 surgeries.
Butterly project loved what was happening, that they asked Sarah, Jan & team to come to Vietnam. They would travel to Vietnam for about 5 years. The came across the same challenges in Vietnam, with lack of education, funding…..
Word got around. They were asked to visit China. They went to Poland. During one of their trips, Jan met world renowned Dr. Lenke.
They have worked on a very tight budget. The volunteers have given time as well as & paid their way. Instrumentation companies have donated equipment .5 - 2 million dollars worth of instruments.
1 surgery will often taken at least 8 hours. Candidate’s are screened. This is limiting with how many patients the team can take on. Sometimes they will have 75 patients, 25 of which will only be seen.
These are often cases where they don’t have any prior screening, there is no care. Sometimes the girls are outcasts, with their families pushing them the side. They also more cases with males, unlike the states.
Sarah & Jan share a story of young boy who wasn’t in pain & yet he almost died from Scoliosis.
Other stories are of children they met with curves of 110 degrees. With 110 degree curve the children are smiling. “It’s like they won the lottery.”
During one their first trips, they realized they didn’t have any pain medication for the patients, not even Tylenol.
The patients are home after 2/3 days post surgery. Recently Sarah & Jan got to see the patients at a reunion. They track patients post surgery but with language & internet limits makes communication challenging.
In order to volunteer, you must have a purpose to serve. For instance they need help with interruptors.
The World Spine team is exactly a team of passionate people who give the time from across the country.
Where can you find them?
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