By Kristen MacklingamDozens of patients who for many years have been suffering from orthopaedic ailments have benefited from specialised surgeries at the Georgetown Public Hospital spearheaded by US medical team “Operation Walk” from Maryland.Head of the Orthopaedic Department at the Georgetown Public Hospital, Dr David Samaroo explained that a team from “Operation Walk” visited Guyana last year and 47 patients benefited from the much-needed surgeries performed. This year, the medical personnel were able to provide more services in this field, he added.One of the doctors from “Operation Walk” attending to a Guyanese patient at the Georgetown Public HospitalThere were 50 replacement surgeries conducted over a three-and-a-half-day period as part of this collaborative initiative this year.“The purpose of their visit is essentially to operate on Guyanese patients with hip and joint pathologies mainly osteoarthritis and complications of osteoarthritis. And they did total joint replacement for those surgeries. After surgery last year, we were able to convince them, because of the need in Guyana to return this year to continue their mission and to do another set of surgeries.”More surgeries done this year than in 2018He explained that the large group encompassed skilled medical professionals with various skills, and local doctors benefited from first-hand expRepresentatives from the “Operation Walk” medical team along with doctors and staff at the Georgetown Public Hospitalerience with the US team in conducting the successful surgeries.“Last Thursday, 42 persons including surgeons, nurses, anaesthesiologists, physiotherapists and a number of volunteers also came in and we began doing surgeries last Friday afternoon. On Friday, we were able to complete four surgeries; on Saturday, we did 14 surgeries and on Sunday and Monday, we did 16 surgeries respectively. In total this year, we did 50 patients’ surgeries. This is in comparison to last year where we had 47 patients had total joint replacement surgeries.”Dr Samaroo stated that the presence of the US medical team here last year and once again in 2019 has tremendously assisted the Georgetown Public Hospital with reducing the number of patients who are in dire need of surgery.“In addition to conducting 50 patient surgeries last year, we did six; patients had bilateral knee replacement surgeries so that took the number of joints replaced to 53. While this year, eight patients had bilateral surgeries, bilateral limb surgeries done, so that took that number to 58 surgeries. So this year we were able to accomplish or achieve much more surgeries done in the same period of time that we did last year,” he added.Director of Joint Reconstruction Surgery at the John Hopkins University at Maryland and Medical Director for “Operation Walk Maryland”, Dr Paul Khanuja, told Guyana Times that his organisation was funded by individuals who sincerely wish to make a difference in the medical field.“And we have been very fortunate to complete 50 surgeries the past few days,” Dr Khanuja related. The patients are doing well; we haven’t had any complications. We are following up from our patients from last year; joint replacement surgery is a very rewarding surgery for those with significant arthritic pain and it has made a difference here. So, we are glad to help contribute and take care of the people of Georgetown and Guyana.”SuccessesMeanwhile, on Tuesday, several patients who had surgeries done by “Operation Walk” in partnership with the Hospital last year had check-ups so that the doctors could check on their progress and recovery rates.Marie Stoby, 76, suffered from osteoarthritis in both of her knees and on October 21, 2018, she benefited from a much-needed surgery, which has helped to make her life easier.Another female, 75, who had been experiencing pain in one of her knees, told this publication that last October, she was one of the lucky persons who had a knee replacement.As for 57-year-old Nigel Lewis, he is presently awaiting another surgery, but is more than thankful for the surgery that he benefited from in 2018, compliments of the Georgetown Public Hospital and the “Operation Walk” team.Additionally, other patients who had surgeries done over the weekend and were in their respective wards at the Hospital expressed their gratitude towards the medical staff that attended to them.