Operation Walk Chicago embarks on Medical Mission to Vietnam March 27

CHICAGO, IL - Operation Walk Chicago launches its first medical mission of 2023 with a weeklong trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, starting March 27, to perform joint replacement surgeries and provide continued education for the local orthopedic staff.

The dedicated team will work intensively throughout the week to perform primarily hip replacement procedures on this trip. Some 40 Vietnamese citizens will receive new joints, and more importantly, a new lease on life.

OWC's highly skilled team of about 40 volunteers from across the United States includes surgeons, physicians, nurses, technicians, physical therapists and more. In the Chicago area, OWC draws professionals from several leading institutions, such as Northwestern University Medical Center and NorthShore Health System. Many of the OWC volunteers have made dozens of trips over the years

"In countries such as Vietnam, joint replacement surgery is not commonly available," said Victoria Brander, MD, one of the co-founders of Operation Walk Chicago along with David Stulberg, MD. "People with severe arthritic pain and deformities can wait years for this procedure - if they receive it at all. We will be seeing patients who travel to us at great difficulty from all over Vietnam in hopes that they can walk again pain free. "

Dr. Brander emphasized that a critical part of each OWC mission is its collaboration with local clinical teams in each hospital to provide training on the latest techniques and equipment to achieve successful outcomes.

"Our goal is not only to perform surgeries while on site, but to help build and reinforce the abilities of local orthopedic teams to provide this vital care for more patients after we leave," she said.

The team arrives on Saturday and Sunday, March 25 & 26.

Intense activity will begin Monday, March 27, with screening of dozens of patients to select the healthiest candidates for joint replacement. Surgery will get underway in three operating rooms starting Tuesday morning and continue through Friday. In addition to providing complete pre/post-operative care, OWC ensures each patient receives physical therapy starting almost immediately after surgery to get patients walking as soon as possible. By the end of the week, patients are all expected to be recovering and ambulatory with assistance. On Saturday, April 1, the entire OWC and Vietnamese teams will join with patients and their family members for a celebratory gathering in the hospital.

Military Hospital 175 is a sprawling medical campus in the heart of the city opened in the mid-1970s. OWC's most recent mission there was in June 2019, when construction was underway for a large, state-of-the-art orthopedic hospital that since been completed. This year's mission will take place in the new facility and will be a dramatic change from the open-air buildings that the OWC teams had known before.

Operation Walk Chicago has conducted dozens of medical missions around the world in the past two decades. The group's most recent trip - and its first one after Covid-19 travel restrictions were lifted - was a return trip to Kathmandu, Nepal, in October 2022. OWC is planning upcoming missions to Nepal in November, and to Pernambuco, Brazil, in late 2023 or 2024. The group is also exploring a possible relationship in Uganda.


Operation Walk Chicago was founded in 2005 by Drs. David Stulberg and Victoria Brander, Operation Walk Chicago is a medical humanitarian, not-for-profit 501c3 organization that provides free hip and knee replacement surgeries. We focus on sustainability by transferring skills and technology through education and program development. Operation Walk Chicago has performed scores of surgeries in Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Vietnam, Nepal and the United States. We are especially grateful to the generous support from leading medical companies that donate all critical supplies - joint implants, sterilization and radiology equipment, antibiotics, drugs and dressings, and more. Plus, Operation Walk Chicago professionals donate their services and skills. The estimated value of each mission's donated work & supplies is between $500k and $1.5m.

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