A significant flight delay in Richmond, VA threatened to prevent volunteer surgical team led by Chester Sharps, M.D., (Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond VA), from evaluating 60 children and providing surgical care to eight scoliosis patients in St. Vincent & the Grenadines this week. Global Flight Relief, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing aviation services for humanitarian aid and emergency response, arranged transportation through its association with Tempus Jets (Newport News, VA) to transport the team to ensure these patients receive the care they need.
World Pediatric Project’s second pediatric scoliosis mission to St. Vincent & the Grenadines is taking place Nov. 10-17 to perform eight spinal fusion surgeries to correct scoliosis, as well as examine and treat roughly 60 young patients suffering from scoliosis or other orthopaedic conditions who lack access to critical care resources. Children with severe handicaps like scoliosis are likely to be shunned in their communities and risk becoming impoverished due to difficulties in attending school and or being employable for the future. A medical team of WPP volunteers who are Bon Secours-affiliated pediatric orthopaedic surgeons and nurses with the aid of Global Flight Relief traveled to the region’s main public children’s hospital, Milton Cato Memorial Hospital Nov. 10, to help these children.
“We are honored to utilize the aviation assets of Global Flight Relief through our association with Tempus Jets to help the WPP team accomplish their critical, life-saving mission,” said Scott Terry, board chairman of Global Flight Relief. “We founded Global Flight Relief so the skills, expertise and resources of Tempus Jets and others can be leveraged to help those in need.” Terry is also founder and chief executive officer of Tempus Jets, Inc.
“The parents of WPP patients take time off to travel to St. Vincent from around the Eastern Caribbean region for this once in a life time opportunity to see their child’s life transformed,” said Susan Rickman, WPP President. “It would have been heartbreaking for them if the team didn’t arrive.”
Scoliosis – or curvature of the spine – affects lung function; if left untreated, scoliosis tragically impacts a child’s quality of life through poor health, limited mobility and embarrassment caused by social ostracism. In 2011, World Pediatric Project performed its first scoliosis-specific mission to St. Vincent & the Grenadines; through generous support from Bon Secours and Global Flight Relief’s response to WPP’s urgent request, the scoliosis mission returns for a second consecutive year.
“Scoliosis is a debilitating condition that in many cases threatens the everyday lives of young patients, as well as the financial health of their families,” said Chester Sharps, M.D. “We are fortunate to partner with World Pediatric Project and Global Flight Relief to care for these patients whose condition might otherwise be left untreated.”
“We experience miracles everyday with WPP patients being healed by our incredible volunteer doctors and nurses and hospital systems such as Bon Secours Richmond. Having a charter jet made available under these dire circumstances adds a new kind of miracle for WPP to share with the world. We are so grateful to Global Flight Relief for allowing us to follow through with the promise we made these children and their families,” said Rickman.
- – The 2012 scoliosis mission is World Pediatric Project’s ninth orthopaedic mission to Milton Cato.
- – World Pediatric Project is one of the few humanitarian organizations dedicated to improving lives in the eastern Caribbean; this includes providing care to underserved patients, as well as providing on-site training to local doctors and medical personnel.
- – Orthopaedists living throughout the region have traveled to Milton Cato for hands-on training by this team. More than half a million dollars of medical devices were donated by DePuy Spine for this mission.
- – Caring for these young patients does not end on Nov. 17. Through on-site education and training during the weeklong mission, Dr. Sharps and his team ensure that their eastern Caribbean counterparts are given the knowledge and resources to care for their own patients, once the mission team has returned home. Through telemedicine, Dr. Sharps communicates with these patients and local staff on pre-surgery and follow-up evaluations, reviewing x-rays and advising local physicians on treatment.
- – “As a mission-driven health care organization, Bon Secours provides compassionate, world-class care to children not only in central Virginia, but around the world,” said Toni Ardabell, CEO, Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. “We are grateful to World Pediatric Project for allowing St. Mary’s the opportunity to help these children to receive the medical care and services they need.”