Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Supporter Appreciation: Dr. Will Boegel Bringing Orthopedic Surgery to Students!
Written by Rosie Mazzarella, Medical Program Coordinator
A few months ago, we introduced you to Heidy. Three-year old Heidy was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, a congenital disorder, last year. Just weeks before her third birthday (which would mark the cutoff for surgical treatment) we were lucky to give Heidy access to surgery through Dr. Will Boegel and Opal House’s surgical clinic. This week, we saw Heidy at a follow-up exam. She has made a wonderful recovery, and is well on her way to running and playing with the other children!
Dr. Will Boegel screening a Tierra Linda middle schooler; Photo credit: Erin Crandell
For many rural indigenous Guatemalans, accessing these kinds of complex podiatric and orthopedic surgeries is close to impossible. Mayan Families has been lucky to partner with Dr. Boegel and Opal House for several years, bringing students with podiatric, orthopedic, and traumatological needs the possibility of life-changing surgeries. Dr. Boegel brings a team of highly experienced surgeons, anesthesiologists, and general physicians to Lake Atitlán every year to provide free consults and complex surgeries to those in need.
A child with a dislocated hip, permanantly making one leg shorter than the other; Photo credit: Erin Crandell
Without access to surgery, many children will live their lives disabled or in pain due to orthopedic birth defects or previous trauma. These conditions also trap families in extreme poverty, as parents who previously worked are forced to stay at home to care for their children.
Many of these orthopedic birth defects that we see often such as club feet and spina bifida are influenced by and exacerbated by extreme poverty. According to the World Health Organization, over 90% of severe congenital anomalies (birth defects or disorders that occur in the womb) are found in low-middle income countries like Guatemala. People without access to nutritious food and preventative health care are at a greater risk for developing these conditions, and often these conditions are not detected until it is too late. Additionally, environmental factors, maternal health, and infections can increase the risk of these conditions.
While many of our programs such as Family Aid, Well Mother Well Baby, and the Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic work to combat these risk factors, screenings are equally important for the early detection of congenital anomalies to provide necessary treatment and care.
Dr. Boegel screening a Tierra Linda preschooler; Photo credit: Erin Crandell
Throughout January and February of 2015, Dr. Boegel traveled with our medical team to four of our Preschool Nutrition Centers, screening nearly over 100 students. From these screenings, Dr. Will was able to identify several students that had conditions that needed to be addressed. This week, we were able to accompany several patients to his surgical clinic in San Lucas Tolimán for orthopedic consults, to schedule surgeries, and for follow-ups.
Thanks to Dr. Will Boegel and Opal House’s screenings and surgical support, we are thrilled to be able to offer our patients world class podiatric and orthopedic support. To support our efforts to provide preventative, primary, and specialist care to our clients, consider donating to the Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic today!