April 19, 2024

4 Days, 78 Patients, 67 Procedures: Changing Lives in Guatemala

Recently, volunteers serving with Team Hope in Motion (Team HIM) returned from another successful orthopedic mission trip in Antigua, Guatemala. CIO’s Dr. Steve Herbst, orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon, shared this experience with close to 50 health care providers from all over the US, including three other OrthoAlliance Partner Practice physicians – Dr. Keith Berend and Dr. Adolph Lombardi from JIS Orthopedics (central Ohio) and Dr. Michael Berend from Midwest Center for Joint Replacement (southwest Indianapolis).

With a goal of bettering the lives of Guatemalan residents and creating meaningful relationships with each of them, the team was able to touch the lives of 78 patients and complete 67 procedures, including 37 knee replacements, 16 hip replacements, 9 foot procedures and 8 ankle operations over four operating days. Beyond surgery, they ensure each patient goes through physical therapy to learn how to use their new joints. A majority of these patients suffer from untreated injuries from years ago and have been unable to walk, stand or live a quality life for years – what a blessing it is to help them!

Passionate about serving others internationally, Dr. Herbst looks forward to this trip every year, and he says it never ceases to surprise him or let him down. Read more of his personal thoughts about the trip below, and learn more about the trip and see the team in action at teamhopeinmotion.org/2024-trip-blog.

Thoughts from Dr. Herbst –

“Wow! What a great week in Guatemala! The way this trip comes together each year continues to amaze me and is nothing short of a miracle. We have team members who come in from all parts of the country, many of whom are new to the mission field and new to Guatemala.

Somehow the controlled chaos turns into a well-orchestrated surgical team that is comprised of nurses, physical therapists, pharmacy support, translators, Orthopedic equipment specialists, anesthesiologists and surgeons. We sometimes wonder what conditions we’ll be treating and if we’re going to have the right equipment to do it – and then the Sunday clinic arrives! This is where we meet all the patients who have been seen by previous team members and thought to be good candidates for surgery.

All of a sudden, an X-ray or a short paragraph describing a patient condition that I read about weeks ago at home becomes a real person with a real problem. Some of the cases are particularly challenging with very high-level deformities not routinely seen in the US. All the teams are well prepared and face the challenges with humble confidence. This year was particularly challenging with a high percentage of difficult foot and ankle reconstructions. There was no rest, but there was certainly great satisfaction with the week!

Partnering with Team Hope in Motion continues to be an unbelievable privilege and blessing to serve the people of Guatemala. All volunteers take time away from family and work and fundraise for the trip – they are nothing short of amazing!” – Dr. Steve Herbst

Drs Michael Berend (Midwest Center for Joint Replacement) and Steve Herbst (CIO) have been serving on 17+ mission trips together!

Looking into one of the hospital wards where patients go after recovery. Here they will receive Physical Therapy, medications, and instructions before being released to home.

Foot and Ankle Team at work! Drs Herbst and Knecht

This is one of Dr. Herbst’s patients, a 48 year old male who got polio as a boy. He was not vaccinated and hadn’t had a straight foot since childhood. Additionally, he was paralyzed in most of the left lower extremity. He had some hip and knee strength, but nothing below the knee. The picture below is the patient after surgery with a straight foot.

Below are a few of Dr. Herbst’s patients…