Fidalgo Island Rotary Club and Healing the Children Medical Mission to Nepal Orthopedic Hospital Kathmandu, Nepal September 20-27, 2008 Six members of the Fidalgo Island Rotary Club and 13 volunteers for the Healing the Children Foundation departed for Kathmandu, Nepal on September 17, 2008 on a multi-purpose mission. The Rotarians had combined efforts with the Wheelchair Foundation to ship and distribute 100 brand new wheel chairs to disabled children and adults in Nepal while the HTC volunteers were on a medical mission to surgically treat a number of severe foot and ankle deformities, mostly as a result of neglected clubfoot. Both teams received tremendous support from the Rotary Clubs in Kathamndu and, together, they changed many lives.
Fidalgo Island Rotary Club and Healing the Children Medical Mission to Nepal Orthopedic Hospital Kathmandu, Nepal September 20-27, 2008 After much planning and communication with the help of various Rotarians, 13 medical personnel and 5 Rotarians committed to sacrificing precious time from their busy work schedules to help the poor and needy people of Nepal. They were responding to an invitation from the staff of Nepal Orthopedic Hospital ( in Kathmandu to provide surgical services in their facility. The Medical Mission Team was assembled by the Oregon and Western Washington chapter of Healing the Children (, lead by Dr. Stephen Millerand organized by Dr. Don van Nimwegan. Pam Putney of the Fidalgo Island Rotary Club lead the Rotary Team while Jack Fris was the liason with the Wheelchair Foundation. The Rotary Team distributed 100 previously shipped new wheelchairs to needy Nepalese adults and children. They visited a number of local Rotary Clubs and their projects. The Nepal Orthopedic Hospital (NOH) was conceived and built by funds raised by over 130 Rotary Clubs in Nepal, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Holland and France under the direction of Jim Sinclair (US/Canada) and Luc Salens (Belgium) with the help of volunteer orthopedic surgeon Dr. Pierre Soete (Belgium). This medical mission coincided with the 10 Anniversary of the NOH which, in those 10 years 1998-2008, achieved financial self-sufficiency. This project was the brainchild of Rotarians Jim Sinclair ( RC of Mount Baker, District 5050), Dr. Anil Shrestha (RC of Kathmandu West, District 3292), and Dr. Stephen Miller (RC of Fidalgo Island, District 5050), also a volunteer for Healing the Children Foundation (HTC). The goal was to identify and treat indigent people, especially children, with severe lower extremity deformities and give wheelchairs to the incapacitated and crippled. Interestingly, October 1, 2008 was the 10th Anniversary of the first surgery at the Nepal Orthopedic Hospital which, after 10 years of service including the treatment of over 150,000 patients and 10,000 surgeris, had achieved financial independence. All accomplishments were with the guidance of Dr. Anil Shrestha, his hospital board, countless Rotarians, as well as Dr. Pierre Soete, a volunteer orthopedic surgeon who had contributed 8 years of service to the hospital and its needy patients. Hospital Director, Dr. Anil Shrestha, his hospital staff and fellow Rotarians provided valuable assistance to the medical mission in the NOH whose facilities made us proud of the service of Rotary. The Rotarians from Fidalgo Island, Washington who accompanied the HTC Medical Mission Team provided invaluable assistance: carrying inbound and outbound bags of medical equipment and supplies, packing equipment and supplies, helping with set-up and take-down and helping to organize the patients and support and comfort the families. Both teams (15 volunteers) departed Seattle on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 for the long journey to Kathmandu and were joined by two team members from Atlanta, GA and one from Germany ( total: 18 volunteers). The first glich was a canceled flight leg from Bangkok to Kathamndu but that was quickly rectified. The team carried 35 bags of medical and surgical equipment and supplies. Initial screenings and the first surgeries took place on Sunday, September 21 and continued through the week. Most of the cases were children with severely deformed and neglected clubfeet (talipes equinovarus). Other pathologies included postpolio deformity, cerebral palsy, isolated equinus, recurrent clubfoot, partially corrected clubfoot and valgus deformities of the lower extremities. The corrections involved unusually complex surgical procedures including one case where an Ilizarov external fixation frame was placed on an extremity to correct equinus deformity. By week's end 21 pre-screened children were evaluated and 18 children underwent 49 surgical procedures, were several others were casted or received bracing referrals. Follow-up care was arranged to be provided by the half dozen staff orthopedic surgeons at the NOH. As with all medical missions, this could not have been accomplished without the generous assistance from corporate donors. The Stryker Foundation donated to the NOH 2 Stryker 4100 battery-operated power sets for small bone surgeries and one cordless oscillating saw plus 3 cordless rotary handpiesces (System 5) for large bone surgery. Many accessory blades, burrs and drill bits accompanied the power equipment. Stryker also provided the Medical Mission Team from the Seattle sales office with two Command Power II loaner electrical power sets. Ellman International contributed two 220V compact radiofrequency electrocautery Surgitron instruments and accessories, one of which was donated to the NOH. This unit was desparately needed for the Mountian Village Outreach Program from NOH whereby orthopedic surgery teams go out into the remote mountain villages to provide on-site orthopedic care in the most primitive of conditions. Dr. Shrestha and Dr. Soete have both participated in such camps. Smith and Nephew donated 8 refurbished Exogen bone growth stimulators, five full carbon fiber external fixation frames, pins and parts, and several bone anchors. Freeze-dried bone allografts and Grafton demineralized bone matrix gel were supplied by the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundationa and the Northwest Tissue Center. Other donors included Darco (Wright Medical) who provided three screw/locking plate sets; the 3M Company with a generous donation of fiberglass cast material and padding plus boxes of Coban wraps. In addition to all these donations to the Nepal Orthopedic Hospital, the Healing the Children Medical Mission Team also provided the facility with 14 small/medium/large monorail external fixators; extra bone anchors; various sutures, dressings, antiseptics ans syringes; 9 pair of crutches; as well as various medications such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, multi-vitamins and antibiotics. Healing the Children sincerely apologizes for any donors whom we have neglected to recognize. The estimated value of all donated supplies and equipment was $125,000. The Medical Mission was well-received and supported by the doctors and staff at the NOH. We feel we have established a warm and mutually beneficial relationship that we hope will lead to many more joint ventures to help the children of Nepal achieve lives of hope and success, giving them the tools to escape the bonds of poverty. "Healing children around the corner and around the world". Stephen Miller, DPM Fidalgo Island Rotary Club