Tucson Ortho Doctors Return to Ecuador for Second Year to Help Patients

This November, Tucson Orthopaedic Institute surgeon, Luis Piedrahita, MD, returned to Ecuador with a team of volunteers to provide orthopaedic treatment to underprivileged patients. The humanitarian effort was set up by Dr. Piedrahita; this was the second year he organized the trip to Quito. He invited some of his Tucson Ortho colleagues, including Russell Cohen, MD and Murray Robertson, MD. Nurse practitioner, Melanie Daniel; TMC surgery scrubs, Jim Clowes and Bianca Hernandes; Stryker representative, Jordan Smith; OPA anesthesiologist, Jose Samson; and volunteersMarianna Caballero and Mike Balthazar also made the trip to volunteer their expertise. 

At Hospital Padre Carollo, the team screened about 25 patients for knee replacements and performed 15 total knee replacements over the course of 3 operating days. Stryker’s local branch manager, Tom D’Amore and representative, Jordan Smith, once again donated the implants and Tucson Medical Center donated much of the medical supplies used for surgery.

Dr. Cohen joined the group this year to help with the mission and to support Dr. Piedrahita’s worthy cause. The team laughed and also cried, and enjoyed each other’s company. The experience left them all feeling enriched and thankful for the chance to give back.

Following the trip, Dr. Cohen said, “The trip was incredible and the team was as efficient a team as I have ever worked with, each doing their part to support the greater cause.” He felt truly honored to take care of those in great need, who otherwise would never receive the assistance they needed.

Below are some photos from the team’s time in Ecuador, which were shared by Dr. Cohen: