TRAUMA HEALERS focuses on the “silent epidemic” of road traffic accidents in low-resource countries. The World Health Organization’s 2018 Global Status on Road Safety reveals that an estimated 1.35 million people are killed in traffic accidents every year. These accidents are the leading cause of death for children and young adults, ages five-29. Additionally, 20 to 50 million world citizens suffer injuries from road traffic accidents, with many requiring surgical care to avoid disability.
In low-resource countries, receiving adequate trauma care is often prohibitive. Insufficient resources,including lack of electricity, make it challenging for surgeons to utilize Western treatments and technology. Accident victims are expected to cover the costs for treatments in advance. Many lack the resources to pay for surgical and rehabilitative care.
Thousands of surgeons around the world have made a commitment to working with the poor, often providing free surgeries and intramedullary nail implants, allowing the injured to return to productive lives in their communities. Given the global focus on the infectious diseases prevalent in many low resource countries, this surgical work receives far less attention.
Providing important perspective are four physicians connected with the Harvard Program in Global Surgery and Social Change and Partners inHealth, based in Boston, MA: John Meara, M.D., George Dyer, M.D., Kee B. Park, M.D. and Robert Riviello, M.D.
TRAUMA HEALERS also focuses on the pioneering work of Vietnam veteran Lewis G. Zirkle, M.D.who founded a non-profit organization called SIGN Fracture Care International in 1999. Based in Richland, WA, SIGN manufactures orthopedic implants and offers free hands-on training to international surgeons. During the past 20 years, SIGN surgeons in 54 countries have successfully treated nearly 350,000 patients at no cost.